BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Cleaning the streets. Homeland Security agents arrest more than two dozen suspected gang members in Maryland.

As Pat Warren reports, it’s all part of a month-long operation called Project Southbound.

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Homeland Security investigators descend on alleged gang members and their associates in Maryland, arresting suspects in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

In video provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one of more than two dozen alleged gang members and associates is taken into custody.

It’s part of Project Southbound, a month-long investigation involving 179 cities across the country.

“Violent gang members are the worst of the worst. They are bad people with bad motives from bad organizations,” said ICE Deputy Secretary Tom Winkowski.

Investigators say nine of the Maryland arrests are MS-13 gang members wanted for murder, assault, extortion and prostitution.

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Nationwide, there are 638 suspects. Numerous foreign nationals are wanted, including the MS-13 and 18th Street gangs and subsets of the Sureños Gang or Sur 13, known as the foot soldiers of the Mexican mafia.

“These criminal organizations are involved in human smuggling and trafficking, narcotic smuggling and distribution, identity theft and benefit fraud, money laundering, weapons smuggling, arms transporting, arms trafficking, cyber crimes and export violations,” said Winkowski.

Experts say the Sureños are spreading across the country at a remarkable rate.

“Extremely, extremely violent,” Winkowski said. “Well organized.”

Local, state and federal authorities continue to make these gangs a target priority.

The Department of Homeland Security has a 24-hour hotline. To report any suspicious activity, call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.

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