FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE's) designated Immigration Criminal Apprehension Taskforce (ICAT) in Northwest Arkansas processed 139 illegal aliens for removal between Jan. 31 and March 20. The ICAT is comprised of personnel from Benton County Sheriff's Office, Springdale Police Department, Rogers Police Department, Washington County Sheriff's Office and ICE. ICAT began operations on Sept. 24, 2007.
Most of the individuals encountered had entered the United States without inspection and were arrested by police for various legal violations. Some of the violations included driving while intoxicated, domestic violence, theft, weapons violations, the use and sale of controlled substances and identity theft.
Of the individuals arrested, 75 percent were from Mexico, 11 percent from El Salvador, 8 percent from Honduras, 5 percent from Guatemala and one percent were from Peru.
"Taking criminal aliens, fugitives and other immigration status violators off of our streets is a critical complement to our nation's border security measures," said Katrina Berger, assistant special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in New Orleans. "Illegal aliens who defy the removal order of an immigration judge should be on notice that we are continuing to dedicate significant resources toward locating, targeting and arresting them. We cannot and will not allow such individuals to remain in the U.S. in violation of our laws."
The ICAT strives to help make local communities safer places to live and work by detaining and removing criminal aliens residing in Northwest Arkansas. If citizens have any information that may assist the taskforce or be of interest to investigators, they are asked to contact the ICAT- North Team in Benton County at 479-986-3611 or the ICAT- South Team in Washington County at 479-750-4484.