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January 19, 2023Santa Teresa, NM, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO El Paso removes Mexican fugitive tied to 2014 disappearance of 43 Mexican students

SANTA TERESA, N.M. — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) El Paso officers removed an undocumented citizen of Mexico to his home country Jan. 18, where he was wanted in connection with the 2014 abduction of 43 Mexican college students.

ERO officers turned over Alejandro Tenescalco-Mejia, 41, of Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico, to Mexican authorities at the international boundary at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry.

On Dec. 14, Tenescalco-Mejia entered the United States by climbing over the border wall near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. Immigration officials arrested him and turned him over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He remained detained at the El Paso Processing Center until his removal Jan. 18.

“ERO made good on its promise to protect the American people by removing a suspected violent criminal back to his home country,” said ERO El Paso Field Office Director Mary De Anda. “The ongoing cooperation between ICE and our Mexican counterparts resulted in holding another fugitive accountable for his actions, highlighting the critical public safety role ERO plays in the community.”

On Sept. 26, 2014, 43 male students from a rural teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico, went missing when traveling by bus. Tenescalco-Mejia is one of several individuals wanted in the case, according to a Mexican court document.

ERO officers make enforcement decisions on a case-by-case basis in responsible manner, informed by their experience as law enforcement professionals and in a way that best protects against the greatest threats to the homeland.

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 Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice and is separate from the U.S. 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 made by the federal immigration judges.

In fiscal year (FY) 2022, ERO arrested 46,396 noncitizens with criminal histories; this group had 198,498 associated charges and convictions. These included 21,531 assault offenses; 8,164 sex and sexual assault offenses; 5,554 weapons offenses; 1,501 homicide-related offenses; and 1,114 kidnapping offenses.

ERO, a directorate of ICE, upholds U.S. immigration law at, within, and beyond our borders. ERO operations target public safety threats, such as convicted criminal noncitizens and gang members, who have violated our nation's immigration laws, including those who illegally re-enter the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges. ERO deportation officers assigned to Interpol also assist in targeting foreign fugitives for crimes committed abroad at-large in the United States. ERO manages all aspects of the immigration enforcement process, including identification and arrest, detention, bond management, supervised release, transportation, and removal. Additionally, ERO repatriates noncitizens ordered removed from the United States to more than 150 countries worldwide.

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 ICE’s mission to increase public safety in your community on Twitter @EROElPaso.