HARTFORD, Conn. — During a four-day targeted enforcement operation in Connecticut and Massachusetts that ended Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrested 44 convicted criminal aliens. An additional individual was arrested who had two outstanding arrest warrants in New York and Texas. Of the 45 arrested, 40 were arrested in Connecticut and five were arrested in Massachusetts.
Operation Threats Against the Community commenced Feb. 24. Forty-four of the individuals taken into custody had prior criminal convictions, including 18 aliens who had multiple criminal convictions. Additionally, 24 of those arrested had felony convictions. Many of these criminal aliens had prior convictions for serious or violent crimes, such as indecent assault and battery of a child, sexual assault, possessing and selling dangerous drugs, drunken driving and larceny charges.
"The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ERO's ongoing commitment to public safety," said ERO Boston Field Office Director Dorothy Herrera-Niles, who oversees ERO throughout New England. "Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ERO officers — along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners — there are fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods.
The 45 arrests took place in the following locations:
- East Hartford
- New Britain
- New Haven
- New London
Numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts assisted ERO with these arrests.
Of those arrested, there were 38 men and seven women who are nationals of the following countries: one from Bosnia, two from Brazil, one from Canada, one from Colombia, five from the Dominican Republic, one from El Salvador, one from England, one from Guatemala, one from Guyana, one from Haiti, one from Honduras, 17 from Jamaica, two from Mexico, one from Montserrat, two from Peru, one from the Philippines, three from Poland, one from Portugal, one from Russia and one from Tanzania. They range in ages from 21 to 57.
Forty-four of the 45 individuals were arrested administratively for being in violation of immigration law, and all are being held in ERO custody pending immigration removal proceedings. The individual with an outstanding warrant for their arrest will be turned over to the New York State Police via the extradition process.
Some of those arrested during this operation include:
- A national of the Dominican Republic who was convicted of the following crimes: assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, gaming, smuggling of U.S. currency, knowingly receiving stolen property and malicious destruction of property.
- A national of El Salvador who was convicted of the following crimes: assault and battery of a minor and failing to register as a sex offender.
- A national of Jamaica who was convicted of the following crimes: carrying a weapon without a permit, risk of injury to a minor, eight counts of the illegal discharge of a firearm and three counts of assault on a police officer.
- A national of Haiti who was convicted of the following crimes: assault in the second degree, two convictions for assault in the third degree, sale of illegal narcotics and resisting arrest.
- A national of Canada who was convicted of indecent assault and battery of a minor.
- A national of Jamaica who was convicted of the following crimes: assault, sale and possession of controlled substances.
"This operation is one of the many tools that ERO uses to effectively reduce crime at the street level in communities throughout New England," added Herrera-Niles.
In November 2011, ERO Boston conducted a similar enforcement operation that yielded 53 arrests of convicted criminal aliens in Massachusetts.
This enforcement action was spearheaded by ERO's Criminal Alien Program, which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens. The officers who conducted the operation received substantial assistance from ERO's Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) located in Williston, Vt.
ERO is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security. ERO also prioritizes the arrest and removal of those who game the immigration system including immigration fugitives or those criminal aliens who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country.
Largely as a result of these initiatives, for three years in a row, ERO has removed more aliens than were removed in fiscal year 2008. Overall, in FY 2011 ERO removed 396,906 individuals nationwide — the largest number in the agency's history. Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed, were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors — an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008. This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence. ERO achieved similar results with regard to other categories prioritized for removal. Ninety percent of all ERO's removals fell into a priority category and more than two-thirds of the other removals in 2011 were either recent border crossers or repeat immigration violators.