SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - An El Salvadoran national previously convicted of sexual battery and incest against a minor was taken into custody Wednesday by officers assigned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Tomas Landaverde, 43, was arrested by ICE through the Criminal Alien Program, which screens and identifies criminal aliens for removal from the United States based on their criminal convictions.
On or about Dec. 12, 2007, Landaverde was arrested for sexual battery and incest in Memphis, Tenn. The victim was a juvenile. On April 14, 2008, Landaverde pled guilty to the charges. On July 31, 2008, the Criminal/Circuit Court of Shelby County, Tenn., found Landaverde guilty of sexual battery and incest and sentenced him to a term of two years and seven months to run concurrently. Landaverde was sentenced to serve his time in a workhouse and was currently reporting to Tennessee probation officials.
Landaverde illegally entered the United States near Brownsville, Texas, on or about March 27, 1996. He sought Temporary Protected Status, which was denied based on his criminal history.
Landaverde is currently being held in ICE custody and is being processed for removal to his home country.
"The removal of aliens with criminal histories is a top ICE priority," said Philip Miller, ICE field office director for ERO in New Orleans. "ICE prioritizes cases involving immigration violators who pose a threat to national security and community safety. Foreign nationals who violate our laws and commit crimes in our communities should be on notice that ICE is going to use all of its resources to find you and bring you to justice."
This operation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,000 individuals.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.