LAWRENCEVILLE - Three local gang members with immigration status violations were recently arrested by federal immigration agents in the latest push to rid Gwinnett of organized gangs.
Edy Garcia-Nanarijo, Jose Ceasar Salazar-Durin and Victor Alfonso Lerma-Neri - all members of gangs with national credentials - were arrested this month without incident by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who are working with Gwinnett's police gang task force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reduce the county's growing gang problem, Gwinnett police spokesman Officer David Schiralli said.
Based on intelligence gathered at the federal and local level, Schiralli said ICE netted the known gang members by "knock and talks" with the help of Gwinnett police and FBI agents.
Simply put, authorities canvassed known gang hot spots and went door to door asking questions.
Schiralli said the initiative seeks to solve two problems simultaneously.
"We're getting people who are here illegally and we reduce the amount of crime that is going," he said.
In an effort to more forcefully crack down on gang activity in Gwinnett, personnel from the county's existing police gang task force recently joined forces with community response units in the department. The 35-member squad has a directive to work with agencies like the FBI and ICE to gather intelligence, make arrests and initiate special investigations.
Authorities say 25-year-old Norcross resident Garcia-Nanarijo - aka "Spider" - recently relocated from California and was allegedly planning to establish a local cell of the California-based gang "The Playboys."
Lawrenceville resident Salazar-Durin - aka "Froggy" - and Norcross resident Lerma-Neri - aka "Lil' Silent" - are allegedly members of "The 18th Street Gang," Schiralli said.
All three are awaiting further processing at the Gwinnett County Jail and face deportation.
Gangs in the county are involved in a number of illegal enterprises, from dealing drugs and stealing cars, to prostitution and burglary, Schiralli said.