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March 8, 2024Baltimore, MD, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO Baltimore apprehends Guatemalan noncitizen convicted of assaulting Maryland resident

Local jurisdiction refused to honor immigration detainer and released the noncitizen from custody

BALTIMORE — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Baltimore arrested an unlawfully present Guatemalan national convicted of a 2021 assault on a Maryland resident. Deportation officers from ERO Baltimore’s Criminal Apprehension Program apprehended the 37-year-old noncitizen March 4 outside of his residence in Lanham.

“This Guatemalan noncitizen has displayed a propensity toward violence and represented a threat to our law-abiding Maryland residents,” said ERO Baltimore Field Office Director Darius Reeves. “We cannot allow such egregious offenders to prey on the members of our Maryland communities. ERO Baltimore will continue to prioritize public safety by apprehending and removing violent noncitizens from our neighborhoods.”

The U.S. Border Patrol encountered the noncitizen in May 2005 near Eagle Pass, Texas, after he unlawfully entered the United States without being inspected, admitted or paroled by a U.S. Immigration Official. Border Patrol officials arrested him and served him with a notice to appear before a Department of Justice immigration judge.

The Prince George's County Police Department arrested the Guatemalan noncitizen in December 2021 and charged him with of sex abuse of a minor, child abuse second degree-custodian, assault second degree, sex offense third degree, and sex offense fourth degree-sex contact. Later that day, the Pacific Enforcement Response Center lodged an immigration detainer against the Guatemalan noncitizen with the Prince George’s County Detention Center in Upper Marlboro.

The Circuit Court for Prince George’s County in Upper Marlboro found him guilty of second-degree assault in May 2023 and sentenced him to 10 years of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. The court suspended all but two days of the prison sentence and dismissed the remaining charges. The Prince George’s County Detention Center refused to honor the immigration detainer and released the Guatemalan noncitizen from custody.

Deportation officers from ERO Baltimore’s Criminal Apprehension Program arrested the Guatemalan national March 4 outside of his residence in Lanham. He will remain in ERO custody pending the outcome of his removal proceedings.

ERO conducts removals of individuals without a lawful basis to remain in the United States, including at the order of immigration judges with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is a separate entity from the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case, determining if a noncitizen is subject to a final order of removal or eligible for certain forms of relief from removal.

As part of its mission to identify and arrest removable noncitizens, ERO lodges immigration detainers against noncitizens who have been arrested for criminal activity and taken into custody by state or local law enforcement. An immigration detainer is a request from ICE to state or local law enforcement agencies to notify ICE as early as possible before a removable noncitizen is released from their custody. Detainers request that state or local law enforcement agencies maintain custody of the noncitizen for a period not to exceed 48 hours beyond the time the individual would otherwise be released, allowing ERO to assume custody for removal purposes in accordance with federal law.

Detainers are critical public safety tools because they focus enforcement resources on removable noncitizens who have been arrested for criminal activity. Detainers increase the safety of all parties involved — ERO personnel, law enforcement officials, removable noncitizens and the public — by allowing an arrest to be made in a secure and controlled custodial setting as opposed to at-large within the community. Since detainers result in the direct transfer of a noncitizen from state or local custody to ERO custody, they also minimize the potential that an individual will reoffend. Additionally, detainers conserve scarce government resources by allowing ERO to take criminal noncitizens into custody directly rather than expending resources locating these individuals at-large.

In fiscal year 2023, ERO made 170,590 administrative arrests, a 19.5% increase over the previous year. ERO arrested 73,822 noncitizens with a criminal history; those arrested had an average of four charges and convictions per individual, including more than 33,209 charges or convictions for assault, 7,520 for weapons offenses, 1,713 for homicide-related offenses, and 1,615 for kidnapping. Removals also included 3,406 known or suspected gang members, 139 known or suspected terrorists, seven human rights violators, and 108 foreign fugitives wanted by their governments for crimes including homicide, rape, terrorism and kidnapping. Also in fiscal year 2023, ERO conducted 142,580 removals to more than 170 countries worldwide.

As one of ICE’s three operational directorates, ERO is the principal federal law enforcement authority in charge of domestic immigration enforcement. ERO’s mission is to protect the homeland through the arrest and removal of those who undermine the safety of U.S. communities and the integrity of U.S. immigration laws, and its primary areas of focus are interior enforcement operations, management of the agency’s detained and non-detained populations and the repatriation of noncitizens who have received final orders of removal. ERO’s workforce consists of more than 7,700 law enforcement and non-law enforcement support personnel across 25 domestic field offices and 208 locations nationwide, 30 overseas postings and multiple temporary duty travel assignments along the border.

Members of the public can report crime and suspicious activity by calling 866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423) or completing the ICE online tip form.

Learn more about ICE’s mission to increase public safety in our Maryland communities on X, formerly known as Twitter, @EROBaltimore.