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November 17, 2022Houston, TX, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

8 noncitizen sex offenders apprehended in Houston area during national ERO operation targeting unlawfully present sexual predators

HOUSTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Houston Field Office arrested eight noncitizen sex offenders from Oct. 21-Nov. 4 during a national operation targeting unlawfully present individuals who have previously been convicted of sex offenses.

The arrests were made under Operation SOAR, an acronym for Sex Offender Arrest and Removal. This coordinated fugitive operations initiative prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present convicted sex offenders.

Seven of the eight individuals arrested during Operation SOAR in the Houston area have previously been convicted of sex offenses involving minors.

“The individuals apprehended in the Houston area during this operation have not only demonstrated a complete lack of respect for our nation’s immigration laws, but they have also shown to be a significant public safety threat to our communities,” said Matt Baker, acting field office director for ERO Houston. “By conducting targeted immigration enforcement operations to locate and arrest these individuals, we fulfill our unyielding commitment to uphold our nation’s immigration laws, and hopefully bring some peace of mind to their victims.”

The SOAR arrests made by ERO Houston during the operation included:

  • A 41-year-old previously removed Mexican national arrested in Cleveland, Texas, who was convicted of felony indecency with a child through sexual contact in Alexander County, North Carolina.
  • A 24-year-old previously removed Salvadoran national arrested in Houston who was convicted of indecent exposure to a minor in Harris County, Texas.
  • A 42-year-old Uruguayan national arrested in Houston who was previously convicted of felony sexual assault of a child in Fort Bend County, Texas.
  • A 50-year-old Mexican national arrested in Winnie, Texas, who was previously convicted of felony sexual exploitation of a minor in Chambers County, Texas.
  • A 42-year-old Honduran national arrested in Galveston, Texas, who was previously convicted of felony indecency with a child through sexual contact in Galveston County, Texas.
  • A 49-year-old Mexican national arrested in Houston who was previously convicted of indecency with a child through sexual contact in Harris County, Texas.
  • A 49-year-old Mexican national arrested in Houston who was previously convicted of sexual assault in Harris County, Texas.
  • A 20-year-old Guatemalan national arrested in Houston who was previously convicted of indecent exposure to a minor in Harris County, Texas.

ICE targets and arrests noncitizens who have committed crimes and other individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws. Officers make case decisions in a responsible manner, informed by their experience as law enforcement professionals and in a way that best protects against the greatest threats to the homeland. All those in violation of immigration law may be subject to arrest and detention, and if found removable by final order, removed from the United States.

Noncitizens placed into removal proceedings receive their legal due process from federal immigration judges in the immigration courts, which are administered by the Executive Office for Immigration Review. EOIR is an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice and is separate from the Department of Homeland Security and ICE. Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case. ICE officers carry out the removal decisions federal immigration judges make.

In fiscal year 2021, ERO arrested 12,025 individuals with aggravated felony convictions. Offenses associated with noncitizens arrested in FY 2021 included 1,506 homicide related offenses, 3,415 sexual assaults, 19,549 assaults, 2,717 robberies and 1,063 kidnappings.

Members of the public can report crimes and suspicious activity by dialing 866-347-2423 or completing the online tip form.

Learn more about ERO Houston’s mission to increase public safety in your community by following us on Twitter @EROHouston.

Updated: 11/18/2022