LOS ANGELES — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arrested 37 foreign nationals with prior convictions for sex offenses during a three-day operation targeting criminal alien sex offenders in the Los Angeles area.
During the enforcement effort, which concluded late Friday, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers assigned to the agency's Fugitive Operations Teams sought to locate and take custody of deportable alien sex offenders in four Southland counties – Los Angeles (16), Orange (4), Ventura (11) and San Bernardino (6). While the majority of those arrested were Mexican citizens (25), the group included nationals of eight other countries, including El Salvador, Honduras, Vietnam, Armenia, Trinidad, the Philippines, Nicaragua and Guatemala.
Among those detained during the operation was a citizen of Trinidad and registered sex offender whose prior convictions include sexual battery, battery on a peace officer and annoying or molesting a child under 18. The 56-year-old, who was arrested in Los Angeles Thursday, is being held by ICE without bond pending removal from the United States.
Also taken into custody during the operation was a registered sex offender from Mexico who had prior convictions for lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14, drug trafficking, firearms violations and attempted grand theft. The 40-year-old was taken into custody Thursday in Palmdale. He is being held without bond pending removal from the United States.
The arrests were coordinated with ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives – aliens who have ignored final orders of deportation handed down by federal immigration courts. ICE's Fugitive Operations Teams give top priority to cases involving aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety, including members of transnational street gangs and child sex offenders.
"This operation was designed to target and arrest criminal aliens who have been convicted of sex crimes," said Timothy Robbins, field office director for ERO Los Angeles. "We will all be able to rest easier knowing that these dangerous criminals are off our streets and will soon be out of the United States."
ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security. ICE also prioritizes the arrest and removal of those who game the immigration system including immigration fugitives or criminal aliens who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country.