NEWARK, N.J. – A Romanian national wanted on human trafficking and prostitution charges in his home country was removed from the United States Tuesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Marius Dragos Stanga, 40, was convicted in September 2013 of committing theft in Hudson County. He was transferred to ICE custody in November following his release from jail on the theft conviction. At that point, ERO Newark determined Stanga had an outstanding warrant issued by Romania in April 2012, where he is wanted for human trafficking and prostitution.
"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will continue to focus resources on violent criminals and other high-priority aliens who pose the greatest threat to our communities," said ERO Newark Field Office Director John Tsoukaris. "This removal shows that these individuals will not be allowed to use the United States as a haven to avoid criminal prosecution in their home country."
Stanga was removed by ERO officers via commercial aircraft from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Bucharest, Romania. From there, ERO officers transferred Stanga into Romanian law enforcement custody.
Stanga claims to have unlawfully entered the United States near Douglas, Ariz., in June 2012.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 720 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 Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.
In fiscal year 2013, ICE conducted 368,644 removals nationwide. Nearly 60 percent of ICE's total removals had been previously convicted of a criminal offense; 82 percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a criminal offense.
Other than convicted criminals, the agency's enforcement priorities include those apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, illegal re-entrants – individuals who returned to the United States after being previously removed by ICE – and immigration fugitives. In fiscal year 2013, 98 percent of ICE removals met these priorities – a record high.