On December 1, 2009, a Boeing 737 aircraft chartered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sailed through the winter skies with one terrorist and 20 other detainees (15 of whom were hardened criminals) on board and destined for a one-way trip to Africa and the Middle East. Under the watchful attendance of ICE officers, the multi-national two-day journey began at the San Antonio International Airport as the 21 detainees from around the country were gathered at the South Texas Detention Complex.
Although many of the detainees had been convicted of violent crimes, including drug distribution, conspiracy to commit murder and arson and assault, ICE's main mission was to deport Mohamed Suliman Adam back to Sudan, his country of origin. A self-professed terrorist with ties to al Qaeda, Adam pled guilty in February 2003 in the U.S. District of New York to conspiring to destroy national defense materials, premises and utilities.
Adam had been serving a 121-month sentence at a maximum security prison in Florence, Colo. Adam was denied parole, and on June 4, 2009 an immigration judge ordered Adam removed to Sudan.
On December 17, ICE held a ceremony at the Washington, D.C., headquarters to congratulate all of the Detention and Removal officers and individuals who contributed to the successful removal. Approximately 50 people attended, and certificates of appreciation were distributed to the ICE personnel involved with this important operation.
As part of the Removal Management Division, Flight Operations Unit is the principal mass air transportation and removal coordinating entity within ICE's Office of Detention and Removal Operations. ICE removal flights are critical in securing America's borders and safeguarding the country. As of the end of September 2009, ICE removed 387,000 aliens from the country, including 136,000 who were convicted of crimes in the U.S.