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08/16/2019
Houston, TX
Child Exploitation

Martin Mejia Ramos, aka Ricardo Morales Rodriguez and Martin Jose Romes-Ramirez, pleaded guilty May 10, 2019, to illegally reentering the United States following an aggravated felony conviction.

08/15/2019
London, United Kingdom
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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Pursuant to an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with participation from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS); the High Commission of India in London in coordination with Indian Customs; and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York (DANY), the limestone carved relief and Navaneetha Krishna Bronze figure from India were repatriated to their home country.  On Aug. 15, the High Commissioner of India in London accepted the return of the artifacts on behalf of India.

08/15/2019
New York, NY
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
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Jose Miguel Melendez-Rojas was arrested in February 2019 in Mexico following the joint investigation, and is charged with five co-defendants: two were extradited from Mexico to the United States in October 2018, and three were previously arrested in the United States. He faces an 18-count indictment charging him with sex trafficking conspiracy, sex trafficking of minors, interstate prostitution, alien smuggling and money laundering conspiracy.

08/15/2019
Charlotte, NC
Enforcement and Removal

ICE arrested fugitive Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, 33, a Honduran national, and repeat immigration violator during a targeted enforcement operation in Mecklenburg County August 9, nearly two months after the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office refused to honor an ICE detainer, or even notify ICE of the release, and instead released Mr. Pacheco’s from local criminal custody following his arrest on first-degree rape and indecent liberties with a minor charges.

08/14/2019
New York, NY
Financial Crimes
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ICE's HSI announced earlier this month the addition of former Venezuelan Vice President and current Minister of Industry and National Production Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah and his co-conspirator, Venezuelan businessman Samark Jose Lopez Bello, to its Most Wanted list for international narcotics trafficking and money laundering. The action followed an ICE HSI New York investigation that led to their special designations as narcotics traffickers as well as sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2017 and criminal charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York earlier this year.

08/14/2019
Chicago, IL
Child Exploitation

Ronald Feder, 32, of Skokie, Illinois, offered to give child pornography to an individual he met online in exchange for what Feder thought would be access to molest the individual’s nephew and niece. 

08/14/2019
Washington, DC
Enforcement and Removal

On Aug. 12, Ricardo Florencio Pelayo Vilchez was removed from the United States escorted by ERO officers. Pelayo arrived at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima where he was transferred into the custody of Peruvian authorities.

08/14/2019
Pocatello, ID
Child Exploitation

Lex Bennett Goodwin, 34, of Pocatello, was sentenced to 100 years in federal prison for producing, transporting, and possessing child pornography, Brad Bench of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Seattle Field Office and U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced today.

08/13/2019
Greenbelt, MD
Child Exploitation

U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm today sentenced Steven Hadley Hassan, age 52, of Frederick, Maryland, to 40 years in federal prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for sexually abusing minors to produce child pornography and transporting those images to the United States.

08/13/2019
Corpus Christi, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

During the two-day trial, the jury heard testimony that on April 15, 2019, Heriberto Lerma, 42, Pharr, Texas, drove a tractor trailer into the Border Patrol Checkpoint south of Sarita shortly after 1 a.m. Lerma told agents he was traveling alone and that he was hauling building materials. However, authorities noticed the bill of lading and the seal placed on the door of the trailer did not match.

08/10/2019
San Salvador, El Salvador
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Matthew Albence visited El Salvador from August 9-10, 2019. The purpose of the acting director’s visit was to discuss ICE enforcement priorities and the agency’s commitment to dismantle networks involved in human smuggling.

08/09/2019
St, Thomas, VI
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

According to court documents unsealed Thursday, between December 2018 and August 2019, Yohanna Gonzalez-McFarlane, 38, of the Dominican Republic, operated the Underground Nightclub in St. Thomas. She recruited young foreign women and arranged to have them smuggled into the U.S. Virgin Islands to engage in prostitution while working at the bar. Gonzalez-McFarlane then housed the women at a residence in St. Thomas and required them to engage in commercial sex at the defendant’s nightclub to repay their smuggling debts.

08/09/2019
Tucson, AZ
Child Exploitation

Twelve agencies participated in the operation, including ICE's HSI, Tucson Police Department, CBP, FBI, USMS, ATF, USSS, Oro Valley Police Department, Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Department of Public Safety, Pima County Attorney’s Office and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

08/09/2019
Houston, TX
Narcotics

Ali Khatib Haji Hassan, 49, Makame Haji Mwinyi, 49, Ernest Michael Mbwile, 35, Abdulahtif Juma Maalim, 43, Ibrahim Omary Madega, 52, Tiko Emanuel Adam, 41, Iddy Saleme Mfullu, 46, Mohammed Said Mohammed, 48, Daud Michael Vedasto, 58, all from Tanzania; Salim Omar Balouch, 36, from Iran; and Abdul Basit Jahangir, 40, from Karachi, Pakistan, were all sentenced as a result of the investigation into trafficking multiple kilograms of heroin to the United States from abroad.

08/07/2019
Jackson, MS
Worksite Enforcement
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In addition to executing federal search warrants and seizing business records pertaining to the ongoing federal criminal investigation, deportation officers with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in partnership with HSI detained approximately 680 removable aliens who were unlawfully working at the plants.                                                                     

08/07/2019
Oklahoma City, OK
Narcotics

Micah Lynne Wascher, 36, and Travis Eugene Wascher, 42, both of Canute, Oklahoma, were correctional officers for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections at the North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre, Oklahoma, at the time of the alleged offenses.

08/06/2019
Tampa, FL
Worksite Enforcement
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The DHS E-Verify employment eligibility verification program enables employers to verify that newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States.

08/06/2019
Sacramento, CA
Document and Benefit Fraud

Abhijit Prasad, 52, received multiple convictions Tuesday, including 21 counts of visa fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft from a federal jury. Prasad was previously indicted on related charges during 2016.

08/05/2019
Pocatello, ID
Narcotics

According to court records, Ryan Fitzgerald Dalley, 44, of Soda Springs, admitted that from September 2013 to October 2017, he acted as an organizer, supervisor or manager over at least five other individuals who conspired to distribute methamphetamine in Idaho and other states. He further admitted that he received substantial income from the sales of methamphetamine and laundered $100,000 in drug proceeds.

08/02/2019
Washington, DC
Enforcement and Removal

On May 10, ERO officers with the Washington field office arrested Alvaro Johel Angel Angel in Alexandria, Virginia and served him a notice to appear in immigration court. An immigration judge ordered Angel removed to El Salvador July 9. 

08/01/2019
Chicago, IL
Enforcement and Removal
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Pedro Juan Cruz-Cortez, 23, was flown to El Salvador July 31 on a charter flight coordinated by ICE Air Operations (IAO).  Upon arrival, ERO officers transferred Cruz-Cortez to officials from El Salvador’s Civilian National Police.

08/01/2019
Detroit, MI
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
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Darrick Bell, 50, aka Tone or Ghost, a U.S. citizen, was the subject of a nearly three-year manhunt, following the takedown of a large-scale human trafficking operation at the now-demolished Victory Inn Motel in Detroit.

07/31/2019
Tampa, FL
Enforcement and Removal
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“Our partnerships with jurisdictions across Florida allow us to better meet our public safety enforcement mission,” said ERO Miami Acting Field Office Director Mike Meade, for the Miami Field Office of ERO. “This is an example of law enforcement working together to make communities safer by keeping criminal aliens off our streets.”

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