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February 12, 2024Baltimore, MD, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO Baltimore arrests Guatemalan noncitizen convicted of human trafficking, prostitution offenses in Maryland

Local jurisdiction ignored ICE detainer and released the noncitizen

BALTIMORE — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Baltimore arrested an unlawfully present Guatemalan noncitizen who was convicted in 2018 of prostitution and human trafficking charges in Prince George’s County. Deportation officers with ERO Baltimore’s Fugitive Operations Team apprehended the 39-year-old noncitizen on Jan. 26 during a traffic stop in Hyattsville.

“This Guatemalan noncitizen has made a habit out of breaking our laws and victimizing our residents,” said ERO Baltimore Field Office Director Darius Reeves. “Through his actions, he has forfeited his right to enjoy the freedoms that this great nation provides its people. ERO Baltimore will continue to apprehend and remove the most egregious noncitizens whose actions violate our Maryland laws and our national immigration laws.”

The Guatemalan national unlawfully entered the United States on an unknown date at an unknown location without being admitted, inspected or paroled by a U.S. immigration official.

Authorities in San Bernardino, California, arrested the Guatemalan noncitizen in July 2008 for presenting a false ID to a peace officer. The state of California granted the noncitizen arrest relief for this charge in July 2022.

Prince George’s County Police cited the noncitizen twice for driving without a license, once in August and again in April 2012. Neither charge was prosecuted.

The Guatemalan noncitizen was arrested by Prince George's County Police in August 2012 and charged with three counts of prostitution, two counts human trafficking, and two counts of human trafficking for financial compensation.

Four days later, ERO Baltimore and HSI Baltimore encountered the Guatemalan noncitizen while he was working at a brothel as a doorman in Hyattsville. ERO Baltimore served him with a notice to appear before a Department of Justice immigration judge. ERO Baltimore took the noncitizen into custody and held him until his immigration proceedings.

The immigration judge ordered the Guatemalan noncitizen removed from the United States in September 2012. ERO Baltimore removed him from the United States to Guatemala the following month.

The Guatemalan noncitizen unlawfully reentered the United States on an unknown date at an unknown location without being admitted, inspected or paroled by a U.S. immigration official.

The Prince George's County Police arrested him in May 2017 and charged him with prostitution and human trafficking for financial compensation. On the same day, deportation officers from ERO Baltimore’s Fugitive Operations Team encountered him while serving a search warrant at a Hyattsville brothel, where he worked as a doorman. The next day, ERO Baltimore reinstated the final order of removal.

In June 2017, ERO Baltimore transferred the noncitizen to the U.S. Marshals Service’s custody to be held for criminal prosecution. The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland charged him with reentry after deportation. He was convicted in August 2017 and sentenced to time served without supervised release.

The Prince George's County Sheriff’s Department took custody of the noncitizen on an outstanding warrant for human trafficking and prostitution. The Circuit Court for Prince George's County convicted him of prostitution and human trafficking charges in May 2018 and sentenced him to 18 months in jail.

ERO Baltimore filed an immigration detainer and the judge’s order of removal with the Prince George's County Detention Center, which did not honor it and released the noncitizen when he completed his sentence.

Deportation officers with ERO Baltimore’s Fugitive Operations Team apprehended the Guatemalan noncitizen Jan. 26 during a traffic stop in Hyattsville and took him into custody. He will remain in ERO custody pending his removal from the United States.

ERO Baltimore’s apprehension of this Guatemalan sex offender represented was part of a recent national immigration enforcement effort. During this national effort, deportation officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ERO field offices across the United States arrested 171 unlawfully present noncitizens with pending charges or convictions for egregious crimes such as homicide, rape, assault, or sexual assaults against children. The nationwide law enforcement effort ran from Jan.16 through Jan. 28.

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 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 a critical public safety tool 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. Because 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 your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, @EROBaltimore.