Department of Homeland Security agents came to Santa Ana on Wednesday with an armored vehicle to serve a search warrant, and were not conducting activities related to immigration enforcement, officials said.
Congressman Lou Correa, a Santa Ana Democrat, said on social media “this incident is very concerning and alarming to me.” Correa added, “My office and I are investigating this incident.”
Earlier today, DHS’s Homeland Security Investigations unit conducted an operation in our community. My office and I are investigating this incident. pic.twitter.com/sDxSGGXP6I
— Rep. Lou Correa (@RepLouCorrea) June 25, 2020
The incident took place at the 1300 block of Center Dr., Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. It was conducted by a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) response team, which is a branch of the DHS but is not affiliated with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said. They came to Santa Ana serve a warrant regarding a firearms-related investigation.
“HSI is the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security and is a vital U.S. asset in combating criminal organizations illegally exploiting America’s travel, trade, financial and immigration systems,” Haley said in an email. “As with other law enforcement agencies whose mission is to protect public safety, specially trained SRT (Special Response Team) agents may be deployed in high-risk situations or under hazardous conditions.”
The agency investigates a broad range of crimes including weapons and gun smuggling, human trafficking, transnational gang activity, international theft. HSI also works on immigration fraud, but that was not the focus of its operation in Santa Ana on Wednesday, Haley said.
She declined specify what agents had been searching for, if anything had been seized or if anyone had been detained, citing an ongoing investigation.
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