ERO Houston removes Salvadoran fugitive with ties to MS-13
HOUSTON — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Houston, with assistance from ERO El Salvador and the Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force, removed Marco Antonio Vigil Argueta, from the U.S. on May 5. Vigil Argueta is a 51-year-old unlawfully present Salvadoran national and known associate of the 20th Street Clique of Mara Salvatrucha-13 (MS-13) and is wanted in El Salvador for illegal gang associations.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Air Operations Unit coordinated Vigil Argueta’s flight from Alexandria, Louisiana, to the Monsenor Oscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport in San Salvador, El Salvador. Upon arrival, he was turned over to officials from El Salvador’s Civilian National Police.
Vigil Argueta illegally entered the United States on an unknown date and at an unknown location. On Nov. 11, 2005, U.S. Border Patrol apprehended him near Hidalgo, Texas. Border Patrol officials released Vigil Argueta on Nov. 12, 2005, on an order of recognizance pending disposition of his immigration proceedings.
Following his release, Vigil Argueta failed to appear for his immigration proceedings and absconded from authorities. On Feb. 3, 2006, an immigration judge with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review ordered Vigil Argueta removed from the U.S. to El Salvador in absentia. On Dec. 16, 2012, Vigil Argueta removed himself from the U.S. on a commercial flight from the Houston Intercontinental Airport to El Salvador.
Vigil Argueta illegally reentered the U.S. on an unknown date and at an unknown location. On March 15, 2023, ERO Houston fugitive operations officers in Houston apprehended him and his prior order of removal was reinstated. ICE officers carried out his removal to El Salvador on May 5.
“The successful apprehension and removal of this foreign fugitive is the result of outstanding teamwork between ERO Houston and our federal and international partners,” said ERO Houston acting Field Office Director Gabriel Martinez. “By working together, we have removed a dangerous threat from the local community and repatriated him to his country where he will face justice for his alleged crimes.”
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 ICE ERO Houston field office carries out its immigration enforcement mission in Southeast Texas, follow us on 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 U.S. 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.