ICE Busts Hundreds in 168-City Gang Sweep

Half of those nabbed in multi-city raids have Mexican cartel links
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2011 5:40 AM CST
ICE director John Morton, left, inspects a bundle of marijuana at a warehouse near the Mexican border.   (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
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(Newser) – A vast multi-city gang sweep shows the extent to which Mexican drug cartels have penetrated American cities—and, say federal officials, the extent to which the government is willing to go to take them down. Some 678 gang members, including 421 nationals, were busted in 168 cities during Project Southern Tempest, ABC reports. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities say nearly half of those arrested were linked to Mexican drug gangs.

"These transnational gangs are a direct threat to our safety," ICE Director John Morton said. "We have to go after them hammer and tong." Analysts, however, say ICE's problem is that it can't do anything about America's demand for illegal drugs. "In the end, you can arrest people all day long, and as long as the market demand remains strong there will be new entrepreneurs who rise to satisfy that demand," the director of the Transborder Institute tells the Christian Science Monitor.

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