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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

ICE rescues abducted child in cross-border parental kidnapping case

Child's grandmother and father taken into custody

SAN DIEGO – A 17-month-old girl was rescued and reunited with her mother in Mexico Thursday afternoon after officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) located her in a San Diego apartment where she was being held by her paternal grandmother.

The search for the missing child began when the grandmother failed to return the girl to her mother while visiting the child in Ensenada. Wednesday, after receiving a request for assistance from Mexican authorities, ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents on the National Security Task Force initiated an investigation.

The next day, Task Force officers located the child in the apartment, along with her grandmother and 32-year-old father, who is a citizen of Mexico.

"This case shows how collaborative efforts by ICE contribute to public safety," said Gregory Archambeault, field office director for ERO San Diego. "I applaud the quick response and hard work by all of the law enforcement personnel who helped us safely reunite this little child with her mother."

When the investigation revealed the child's father was a previously deported felon, ERO officers obtained a criminal warrant for his arrest. He was taken into federal custody outside the apartment on charges of illegal reentry after deportation. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The child's grandmother was taken into custody on immigration violations and placed in removal proceedings.

The HSI-led National Security Task Force is comprised of enforcement personnel from HSI, ERO and U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Border Patrol.