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Breaking News! Up to 350 in custody after New Bedford immigration raid

ICE Apprehends More Than 2,100 Criminal Aliens, Gang Members, Fugitives and Other Immigration Violators in Nationwide Interior Enforcement Operation

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

Contact: ICE Public Affairs, (202) 514-2648, (832) 423-9395

June 14, 2006

Houston, Texas – Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), today announced that ICE agents and officers have apprehended approximately 2,179 criminal aliens, illegal alien gang members, fugitive aliens, and other immigration status violators as part of a nationwide interior immigration enforcement operation that began last month.

Dubbed “Operation Return to Sender,” the initiative began on May 26, 2006 and concluded yesterday. Virtually every field office in the nation from ICE’s Office of Investigations and ICE’s Office of Detention and Removal Operations carried out the enforcement operation in conjunction with numerous state and local law enforcement agencies.

Among the roughly 2,179 individuals arrested in the operation, roughly half had criminal records for crimes that ranged from sexual assault of a minor to assault with a deadly weapon, to abduction. For example, approximately 146 of those arrested had convictions for sexual offenses involving minors. In addition, roughly 367 of the arrested aliens were members or associates of violent street gangs, including Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). Finally, roughly 640 of those arrested were fugitive aliens who had been issued final orders of removal by an Immigration judge but failed to comply.

ICE officers arrested the majority of these individuals on administrative immigration violations and have placed them into deportation proceedings. Roughly 829 of those apprehended on administrative violations have already been repatriated to their home countries. ICE agents also apprehended 121 individuals on criminal charges that range from felony re-entry after deportation, to illegal alien in possession of a firearm. The latter individuals are being processed in federal criminal courts.

“Operation Return to Sender is another example of a new and tough interior enforcement strategy that seeks to catch and deport criminal aliens, increase worksite enforcement, and crack down hard on the criminal infrastructure that perpetuates illegal immigration," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.  "The fugitives captured in this operation threatened public safety in hundreds of neighborhoods and communities around the country.  This department has no tolerance for their criminal behavior and we are using every authority at our disposal to bring focus to fugitive operations and rid communities of this criminality."    

ICE Assistant Secretary Myers said, “America’s welcome does not extend to immigrants who come here to commit crimes. ICE will leave no stone unturned in hunting down and deporting aliens who victimize our communities. Interior enforcement initiatives like Operation Return to Sender are a critical and necessary complement to our nation’s border security measures.”

Some of those arrested in Operation Return to Sender included:

  • Franklin Ademir Rodriguez, a 25-year-old Salvadoran national and member of the street gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). Rodriguez, also known as “Hollywood,” boasts a lengthy criminal history that includes an assault and battery conviction for helping other MS-13 gang members permanently paralyze a 13-year-old boy by stabbing him in the spine with a sharpened stake. The victim is now confined to a wheelchair for life. ICE officers arrested Rodriguez earlier this month at his place of employment at Budget Rental Car at Boston Logan Airport after he failed to appear for his removal hearing.

  • Jose Garcia Rios, a Mexican national whose criminal history extends from 1985 to present.  Garcia has been arrested roughly 13 times, has been removed from the country several times, and has past convictions for crimes ranging from aggravated robbery to drug dealing, drug possession, terroristic threats, and evading arrest.

  • Wilber Kuk, a 24-year-old Mexican national and member of 18th Street gang in Washington, D.C. who has convictions for abduction, malicious wounding, robbery and use of a firearm.

  • Samuel Gil Martinez, a 24-year-old Salvadoran national and member of the MS-13 gang. Martinez has twice been convicted in Boston of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. In one case, he beat an individual with a baseball bat. In another, he attacked an individual at a bus stop with a “Club” automobile lock. Martinez was arrested with other MS-13 members during the commission of these crimes.

  • Angel Lira-Alvarez, a 26-year-old Mexican national and member of “East Side Homeboys,” a major street gang in Dallas, Texas.  Lira has previous convictions for manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, theft and burglary. He had previously been deported from the country, but re-entered the United States and was arrested again for marijuana possession. He was the subject of a local arrest warrant for parole violations when ICE arrested him.

Those arrested in the operation came from nations around the globe, including Angola, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Egypt, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.

The arrests are the latest enforcement actions under the interior immigration enforcement strategy that was announced on April 20, 2006 by Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff and Assistant Secretary Myers.  A critical element of this interior enforcement strategy is to identify and remove criminal aliens, fugitives, and other immigration violators from the United States.  

The interior enforcement strategy is part of the Secure Border Initiative (SBI), which is the Department of Homeland Security’s comprehensive, multi-year plan to secure America’s borders and reduce illegal migration. SBI’s border security efforts are focused on gaining operational control of the nation’s borders through additional personnel and technology, while re-engineering the detention and removal system to ensure that illegal aliens are removed from the country quickly.

The interior enforcement strategy complements the Department’s border security efforts by expanding existing efforts to target immigration violators inside this country, employers of illegal aliens, as well as the many criminal networks that support these activities. The primary objectives are to reverse the tolerance of illegal employment and illegal immigration in the United States.

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was established in March 2003 as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.  ICE is comprised of four integrated divisions that form a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities.

 

     Last Updated on Wednesday July 25, 2007.