Mainland Gangs Making Their Way to Hawaii
(KHNL) -- Street gangs that have wreaked havoc on the mainland and abroad have made their way to Hawaii. Local authorities say they've arrested several foreign nationals who are suspected of being members of violent gangs.
Meet Javier Arrellano. Authorities say the heavily-inked man is a member of California's 18th Street gang. And he was captured on Maui.
"After some disorderly-conduct type cases at one of our local nightclubs," Det. Clyde Holokai, Maui Police Department, said. "During the course of the investigation, the patrol officers noticed the 18s all over his body."
He's one of nine people arrested in Hawaii as part of Operation Community Shield -- a nationwide, anti-gang initiative that's netted nearly 2,400 people from 239 different gangs since its launch a year ago.
Authorities say the goal is to take down foreign nationals with ties to criminal organizations, such as the notorious MS 13.
"They are known for smuggling illicit drugs, assault, drive-by shooting, homicides, I.D. theft, prostitution activities, robbery, and weapons trafficking," Ed Kubo, U.S. Attorney, said.
Police say two members of that vicious gang were picked up on Maui.
"The MS members that we identified on Maui were, had been involved in minor criminal activity," Thomas Phillips, Maui police chief, said. "Some abuse cases, some traffic violations, some minor drug offenses."
Law enforcement officials say you can help keep a lid on gang violence by reporting suspicious activity.
"This type of clear and present danger comes with too much violence for us to ignore at this early stage," Kubo said.
Of the nearly 2,400 people arrested nationwide, more than 1,000 have violent criminal histories.