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May 14, 2024Houston, TX, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO Houston removes Guatemalan fugitive wanted for domestic violence

HOUSTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Houston, with assistance from ERO Guatemala and the Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force, removed Jose Carlos Ortiz Lucero, a 27-year-old unlawfully present Guatemalan fugitive, from the United States on May 13. Ortiz is wanted in Guatemala for domestic violence.

Ortiz was flown on a charter flight coordinated by ICE’s Air Operations Unit from the Alexandria International Airport in Alexandria, Louisiana, to the La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Upon arrival, he was transferred into the custody of Guatemalan authorities.

“Unlawfully present foreign fugitives with a history of committing violent criminal offenses like this individual undermine our rule of law and present a significant threat to public safety,” said ERO Houston Field Office Director Bret A. Bradford. “Thanks to the outstanding partnerships that we have with our state and local law enforcement partners here in Southeast Texas, we were able to safely take him into custody and repatriate him to Guatemala to face justice for his alleged crimes.”

Ortiz was originally admitted into the United States on Feb. 10, 2018, as a nonimmigrant and violated terms of admission. ERO Houston encountered Ortiz on May 14, 2023, at the Brazoria County Jail in Angleton, after he was arrested for making terroristic threats to a family member and an immigration detainer was lodged with the jail. On May 15, 2023, the Brazoria County District Attorney’s Office charged Ortiz with the additional offense of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Ortiz was convicted on Nov. 30, 2023, in the Brazoria County Court at Law #4 of making terroristic threats to a family member. On Dec. 8, 2023, he was convicted of the lesser offense of deadly conduct in the 412th Judicial District Court. The Brazoria County Jail transferred Ortiz into ICE custody on Dec. 9, 2023, and he was placed into immigration proceedings. On April 8, 2024, an immigration judge with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review ordered Ortiz removed from the United States. ICE officers carried out that order on May 13 and removed Ortiz to Guatemala.

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, at @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.