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February 16, 2024Baltimore, MD, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO Baltimore arrests unlawfully present Salvadoran gang member convicted of assault in Maryland

Local jurisdiction ignored ICE detainer and released the noncitizen

BALTIMORE — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Baltimore apprehended a 23-year-old noncitizen who was convicted of an assault in Maryland in 2022. Deportation officers from ERO Baltimore’s Fugitive Operations Team arrested the Salvadoran national, who is an MS-13 gang member, on Feb. 6 near his residence in Riverdale.

“This Salvadoran gang member has not only displayed a disregard for U.S. immigration laws, but he has also proven to be a violent criminal and a threat to the people of Maryland,” said ERO Baltimore Field Office Director Darius Reeves. “We will not allow such malicious offenders to intimidate the residents of our communities. ERO Baltimore will continue to prioritize the safety of our public and the removal of unlawfully present threats to our neighborhoods.”

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

The U.S. Border Patrol encountered the Salvadoran noncitizen near Rio Grande Valley, Texas, in October 2015, as an unaccompanied minor child and served him a notice to appear before a U.S. Department of Justice immigration judge. Two days later, Border Patrol officials transferred him to the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Southwest Key facility in Rio Grande.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement reunified the Salvadoran national with his mother in Hyattsville, Maryland, in November 2015.

The Montgomery County Police Department arrested the Salvadoran noncitizen in August 2017 and charged him with theft less than $1,000. On the same day, the Pacific Enforcement Response Center lodged an immigration detainer against him with the Montgomery County Detention Center in Rockville.

The Montgomery County Detention Center declined to honor the ICE detainer and released the noncitizen from custody the next day.

The Prince George’s County Police Department arrested him in May 2019 and charged him with third- and fourth-degree sex offenses, including sexual contact with a minor, and second-degree assault.

The Circuit Court of Prince George’s County convicted him of the assault charge in September 2022 and sentenced him to 10 years of imprisonment. However, the court suspended all but 72 days of the sentence. The remaining charges were dismissed.

In June 2023, a U.S. Department of Justice immigration judge in Baltimore ordered the noncitizen removed to El Salvador.

Deportation officers from ERO Baltimore’s Fugitive Operations Team arrested him near his residence. He will remain in ERO custody pending his removal from the United States.

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 DHS 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. 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 your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, @EROBaltimore.