Gang Arrests

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Federal immigrations officials have announced that Alabama ranks third in the number of arrests in a national two-week sweep of criminal Latino gangs.

Forty-two of the 582 captured nationally were arrested in the Birmingham area and Decatur as part of Operation Community Shield.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the national results, calling gang violence a critical threat to society.

Of the 582 arrested, 76 were charged with criminal violations such as illegally re-entering the United States after deportation, possessing a firearm and possessing fraudulent documents.

The others were arrested on administrative immigration charges that make them subject to deportation, such as being a convicted felon foreign national or violating the terms of a visa.

About 80 gangs were targeted, including Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13.

In Alabama, the majority of the arrests were in Hoover.