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Police: Gang sweep nets 35
Suspects are all illegal immigrants and are awaiting deportation

LAWRENCEVILLE - A countywide sweep targeting criminal gang members tallied 35 arrests by its conclusion Thursday, marking the latest push to boot gangsters from Gwinnett, police said.

All 35 suspects are illegal immigrants awaiting deportation in Atlanta, according to police.

Dubbed "Operation Community Shield," the weeklong initiative mirrored similar sweeps in recent years. It brought together officers from the Gwinnett police gang task force, Sheriff's Department deputies and federal agents from the FBI and ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The sweep was "hailed as a success" by involved agencies, Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli said. It was "designed to target known criminal street gang members who are also in the United States illegally," he said.

The local gang task force shared information with federal agents, and the agencies coalesced to pinpoint suspects in Gwinnett beginning May 31, Schiralli said.

"Once the individuals were identified and determination was made as to their immigration status," they were arrested and turned over to ICE for processing and deportation, Schiralli said.

Police could not provide a breakdown Friday of where the arrests were made in Gwinnett.

The agencies last conducted a joint sweep March 13, when police made three arrests.

Gwinnett police launched the gang task force in early March, an effort to crack down on gang violence, drug trafficking and graffiti.