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ICE conducts weeklong raids along California coast

Posted at 8:22 PM, Jun 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-09 20:22:31-04

MONTEREY, CA (KSBW/CNN) - Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officials raided California's central coast this week, making good on President Donald Trump's promise to crack down on illegal immigration.

ICE agents conducting raids beginning in King City on Monday. "ICE has been conducting operations like this for as long as I can recall," said Chief Robert Masterson of the King City Police. 

The feds gave Masterson notice first. "So we don't get a call about a suspicious person and we respond thinking it's a suspicious person and it's actually an ICE agent,” the chief said.

Masterson says ICE agents told him nine people were taken into custody on Monday morning. "Means basically that they're here in the country illegally and they've committed a criminal act and have been convicted of it,” he said.

The raids expanded to Soledad and Santa Cruz on Wednesday.

"And I've been told specifically that when they come into a city, they're looking for targeted people," said Chief Eric Sills of the Soledad Police.

Sills says apprehending those targets means the streets of his community will be safer. "To me it doesn't matter if its Probation Parole, ICE, FBI anybody, if I have a criminal living in the city, people breaking the law, whether they're documented or not, it's very important that we all work together to try and put these people behind bars and bring them to justice," Sills says.

In Santa Cruz, Sgt. Chris Clark says the sheriff's office wasn't given any specifics as to why ICE was in town. "Very little, if any information, with regards to what they're doing and what they're hoping to accomplish,” Clark said. 

But Clark did stress that Santa Cruz is a sanctuary city. And he doesn't want ICE's presence to stop the community from feeling safe.

"We don't enforce immigration laws at the sheriff's office. We want to know when crimes happen and we want to investigate crimes, and we want people to feel comfortable to bring us that information without worrying about whether or not we're going to check into their immigration status. And we're not going to. That's not what we do,” Clark said. 

But it is what ICE does, with agents also conducting raids in Salinas and Watsonville this week. 

"I do not have the legal authority to tell a federal agency they can't enter into a jurisdiction,” Masterson said. 

ICE has not yet released the names of those taken into custody or where those raids took place. What officials did say is that raids in Watsonville will continue for the next two days. 

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