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August 9, 2023Indianapolis, IN, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO Chicago arrests unlawfully present Venezuelan fugitive wanted in home country for funding terrorism

Man also wanted for fraud, money laundering and organized crime

INDIANAPOLIS — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Chicago’s Fugitive Operations Team arrested an unlawfully present Venezuelan national Aug. 8, 2023.

In April 2021, U.S. Border Patrol arrested the man near San Luis, Arizona, after officials determined he entered the United States unlawfully. They charged him with inadmissibility under U.S. immigration law and issued a notice to appear before an immigration judge with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).

Authorities released the noncitizen on parole pending the outcome of a scheduled immigration hearing.

In August 2021, a criminal court in the Venezuelan city of Valencia issued an arrest warrant for the man for the charges of continuous fraud, money laundering and association regarding organized crime and financing of terrorism. An international criminal warrant alerted ERO Chicago officials to his fugitive status earlier in August.

“ERO Chicago is committed to apprehending those who mistakenly believe they can commit crimes and unlawfully hide from justice here,” said ERO Chicago acting Field Office Director LaDeon Francis. “Those who engage in fraud and funding terrorism must be held accountable for their crimes — especially those who have also openly violated our federal immigration laws.”

ERO Chicago confirmed the Venezuelan citizen’s presence in ERO Chicago’s area of responsibility and located and detained him without incident. He will remain in ICE custody pending immigration proceedings.

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

As one of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) three operational directorates, Enforcement and Removal Operations (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 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 crimes or suspicious activity by calling 866-347-2423 or completing ICE’s online tip form.

Learn more about ERO’s mission to increase public safety in your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, @EROChicago.