Pensacola, FL - September 17, 2012
As part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) ongoing commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, 36 convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and immigration violators were arrested during a five-day operation in the Gulf Coast area.
The operation concluded Sunday and was conducted by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Fugitive Operations Teams.
Of the 36 arrested, 19 had convictions for crimes such as: aggravated assault, burglary, battery on a law enforcement officer, identity theft, possessing cocaine, battery, forgery, fraud, driving under the influence and domestic violence.
Five of the 36 were immigration fugitives who had been previously ordered to leave the country but failed to depart; four of those are convicted criminals in addition to having outstanding deportation orders. Six of the 36– including five 5 convicted criminals – had been previously deported. Illegally re-entering the United States after deportation is a felony offense.
The 33 men and three women arrested during this operation were from: Mexico (23), Honduras (3), Guatemala (5), Vietnam (1), Thailand (1), Czech Republic (1), Iran (1) and Cuba (1). Most of those arrested, 13, were in the Pensacola area; additional arrests were made in the following northwestern Florida cities: Ft. Walton (5), Navarre (7), Defuniak Springs (3) and Santa Rosa. Seven arrests were also made near Mobile, Ala.
“These arrests of convicted criminals and repeat immigration violators demonstrate ICE's ongoing commitment to public safety,” said Scott Sutterfield, acting field office director of ERO New Orleans. “When ICE prioritizes these individuals for arrest, our officers and agents work tirelessly to pursue the leads.”
Among the convicted criminal aliens arrested were:
• A 32-year-old Honduran national who was previously deported from the United States and illegally re-entered. He was previously convicted of burglary, robbery, theft and has a domestic violence case pending. He was arrested Thursday in Ft. Walton Beach and remains in ICE custody pending removal to Honduras.
• A 32-year-old Mexican national who was previously convicted of felony battery and giving false information to law enforcement. He was arrested Wednesday in Pensacola and remains in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
• A 41-year-old Vietnamese national who was previously convicted of aggravated assault with great bodily harm and felony battery with a weapon. He was arrested Wednesday in Pensacola and remains in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
“We continuously focus on improving the safety of all of our communities by conducting these targeted enforcement actions,” said Michael Meade, acting field office director of ERO Miami.
These arrests were coordinated with ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP), which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives – aliens who have ignored final orders of deportation handed down by the nation's immigration courts.
ICE's Fugitive Operations Teams give top priority to cases involving aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety, including members of transnational street gangs and child sex offenders.