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October 16, 2023Houston, TX, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO Houston removes foreign fugitive wanted in El Salvador for membership in 18th Street Gang

HOUSTON — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Houston, with assistance from ERO El Salvador and the Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force, removed Hilda Mirely Tobias, a 44-year-old unlawfully present Salvadoran fugitive, from the United States on Oct. 13. Tobias is wanted for aggravated terrorist organizations in El Salvador for her alleged membership in the 18th Street Gang.

Tobias was flown from Alexandria, Louisiana, on a charter flight coordinated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Air Operations Unit to the Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport in San Salvador, El Salvador. Upon arrival, she was turned over to officials from El Salvador’s Civilian National Police.

“Foreign fugitives fleeing prosecution in another country will find no safe haven here in Southeast Texas,” said ERO Houston Field Office Director Bret A. Bradford. “ERO Houston works closely with our domestic and international partners to successfully remove these threats to public safety from our communities and repatriate them to their home country to stand trial for their alleged crimes.”

Tobias illegally entered the United States near Rio Grande City, Texas, on July 26, 2016, and was apprehended the same day by the U.S. Border Patrol. On July 28, 2016, Border Patrol officials released Tobias on an order of recognizance pending disposition of her immigration proceedings.

On March 6, 2023, an immigration judge with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review ordered Tobias removed from the United States to El Salvador. Tobias appealed the immigration judge’s decision with the Board of Immigration Appeals on March 31.

On May 1, ERO Houston fugitive operations officers took Tobias into custody pending her appeal. The Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed her appeal on Aug. 25 and ordered her removed to El Salvador. ICE officers carried out her removal on Oct. 13.

Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE Tip Line at 866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form.

For more news and information on how the ERO Houston field office carries out its immigration enforcement mission in Southeast Texas follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, @EROHouston.

The SAFE Program is a fugitive enforcement and information sharing partnership that was created in 2012 to better use subject information derived from local in-country investigative resources and leads to locate, apprehend, detain and remove individuals residing in the United States illegally who were subject to foreign arrest warrants. The SAFE Program operates under the respective host nation’s AAR, which constructs a SAFE task force composed of relevant foreign law enforcement agencies, immigration authorities, attorneys general and national identification repositories — as well as other regional, national, state and local government agencies. The managing AAR ensures that each task force member complies with SAFE policies and standards consistent with the program’s standard operating procedures. Once established, the AAR-led SAFE task force generates new leads and vets existing SAFE fugitive referrals for ERO action.

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 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.