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Secure Communities
01/30/2009

New ICE program sparks arrest, prosecution of previously deported gang associate in Phoenix area

MESA, Ariz. - A Mexican national with ties to a violent street gang who was previously deported three years ago is facing federal criminal charges today after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers were alerted to his presence by the Mesa Police Department.

Alan Dario Beltran-Sierra, 25, has been charged with re-entering the United States after removal, a felony violation that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Beltran was encountered by the Mesa police during a family dispute call. Mesa officers then submitted an immigration query to ICE databases under ICE's Secure Communities program, which makes it faster and easier for local law enforcement agencies to determine whether they have encountered a deportable criminal alien.

The query identified Beltran as an associate of the Los Compitas Mesa gang with previous convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, endangerment and gang-related threatening and intimidation. He was previously deported in December 2006 after serving more than seven years in Arizona Department of Corrections prisons. ICE officers arrested Beltran at his residence in Mesa yesterday.

"As a country, we welcome law-abiding immigrants, but foreign nationals who violate our laws and commit crimes in our communities are an enforcement priority for ICE," said Katrina S. Kane, field office director for ICE detention and removal operations in Arizona. "The arrest of this individual demonstrates that ICE's Secure Communities program is already improving the safety of our citizens. It is a credit to the Mesa Police Department that its officers took the extra step of running an immigration query on this criminal, giving ICE an opportunity to take this gang member off of our streets."

"This incident is representative of the commitment by the Mesa Police Department to effective crime fighting," said Mesa Police Chief George Gascon. "In this case our men and women in partnership with ICE personnel have taken a violent criminal off our streets. It is this level of cooperation with our law enforcement partners, including ICE and attention to detail, that has helped lower crime in Mesa for the past two years."

Secure Communities is the cornerstone of DHS's comprehensive plan to distribute technology linking local law enforcement agencies to both FBI and DHS biometric databases. DHS's US-VISIT Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) holds approximately 90 million biometrics-based immigration records, while the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) contains biometric-based criminal records. DHS and DOJ are working to make IDENT and IAFIS fully interoperable to ensure that federal, state and local decision makers have access to the information they need in a timely manner. Local law enforcement officials are not permitted to take action against immigration violators unless authorized by DHS.