HOUSTON — An El Salvador man, wanted in his country for murder, organized crime and extortion, was deported and turned over to officials of El Salvador Sept. 28 by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Walter Fernando Alfaro-Pineda, 33, was encountered by officers assigned to the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) at the Lee County Jail in Texas, after an Interpol fugitive warrant was revealed following his arrest June 18. The warrant indicated that Alfaro-Pineda was wanted by El Salvadoran officials for murder, organized crime and extortion. Alfaro-Pineda was released into ERO custody June 20, and subsequently ordered removed from the U.S. by an immigration judge Sept. 5.
"This removal is the positive result of ICE's thorough screening of jails and prisons throughout the nation," said David W. Jennings, field office director for ERO Houston. "This case is representative of the hard work and service by ERO and our law enforcement partners to ensure public safety."
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 reentered the country.
This international fugitive was removed on a charter flight via the ICE ERO Air Operations (IAO) Unit. Since 2006, the IAO Unit, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., has supported ERO by providing mass air transportation and removal coordination services to ERO field offices nationwide. Staffed by ERO officers, these air charters enable the agency to repatriate large groups of deportees in an efficient, expeditious and humane manner.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 500 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with ICE's Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.
Through CAP, ERO seeks to identify potentially deportable aliens incarcerated in jails and prisons throughout the United States. This is accomplished through interviews and reviews of inmates's biographical information. Although ERO initiates removal proceedings against criminal aliens through CAP, these individuals may remain in prison or jail to complete criminal hearings or sentences. Under CAP, ERO uses a risk-based approach to make determinations about the detention and arrest of criminal aliens, with priority given to cases involving individuals deemed to be a security or public safety threat.