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May 14, 2024New York, NY, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO New York City arrests unlawfully present Venezuelan fugitive and Tren de Aragua gang member

NEW YORK — On May 10, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) New York City arrested an unlawfully present Venezuelan citizen and member of the Tren de Aragua transnational criminal organization. Johan Jose Cardenas Silva is wanted by Peruvian authorities for conspiracy, assault and aggravated theft. Cardenas was also one of eight noncitizens arrested by the New York City Police Department March 27 and charged with criminal possession of a weapon-second degree: loaded firearm; criminal possession weapon-second degree: loaded firearm on school grounds; criminal possession-controlled substance-5th: intent to sell; and act in manner injure child less than 17.

ERO New York City officers assigned to its Long Island office arrested Cardenas upon his release from Nassau County Correctional Center pursuant to an administrative warrant of removal. He is detained in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

“This international fugitive mistakenly thought he could waltz into the United States to not only evade justice in other countries, but to continue his criminality with impunity,” said ERO New York City Field Office Director Kenneth Genalo. “His history of lawless behavior and membership in a violent international criminal organization clearly demonstrate that he is a serious threat to the public safety.”

U.S. Border Patrol officials encountered Cardenas in Del Rio, Texas, Oct. 4, 2022, and determined he unlawfully entered the United States and issued him a notice and order of expedited removal.

On Jan. 19, 2023, ERO San Antonio served Cardenas a notice to appear with a list of free legal services and filed it with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). On March 30, 2023, an immigration judge ordered Cardenas removed from the United States.

On Oct. 5, 2023, Cardenas was released from Stewart County Detention Center on an order of supervision to report to New York City; however, he never reported as directed.

On March 27, NYPD arrested him for the crimes of criminal possession of a weapon-second degree: loaded firearm; criminal possession weapon-second degree: loaded firearm on school grounds; criminal possession-controlled substance-5th: intent to sell; and act in manner injure child less than 17. On this same date, the Bronx Criminal Court arraigned and released Cardenas on his own recognizance before an immigration detainer could be lodged. Due to the New York state’s Protect Our Courts Act, ERO New York City was precluded from arresting Cardenas upon his release.

On April 1, the Nassau County Police Department arrested and charged Cardenas with the crimes of grand larceny in the fourth degree: value property greater than $1,000 and petit larceny. On that same day, ERO New York City lodged an immigration detainer with the Nassau County Jail against Cardenas’ release.

On April 9, ERO New York City received notification that Cardenas was an international fugitive wanted by Peruvian authorities on an arrest warrant issued in October 2018.

On April 30, the First District Court of Nassau County convicted him of petit larceny and sentenced him to 60 days of imprisonment.

As part of its mission to identify and arrest removable noncitizens, ERO lodges immigration detainers against noncitizens who have been arrested for criminal activity and taken into custody by state or local law enforcement. An immigration detainer is a request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to state or local law enforcement agencies to notify ICE as early as possible before a removable noncitizen is released from their custody. Detainers request that state or local law enforcement agencies maintain custody of the noncitizen for a period not to exceed 48 hours beyond the time the individual would otherwise be released, allowing ERO to assume custody for removal purposes in accordance with federal law.

Detainers are critical public safety tools because they focus enforcement resources on removable noncitizens who have been arrested for criminal activity. Detainers increase the safety of all parties involved — ERO personnel, law enforcement officials, removable noncitizens and the public — by allowing an arrest to be made in a secure and controlled custodial setting as opposed to at-large within the community. Because detainers result in the direct transfer of a noncitizen from state or local custody to ERO custody, they also minimize the potential that an individual will reoffend. Additionally, detainers conserve scarce government resources by allowing ERO to take criminal noncitizens into custody directly rather than expending resources locating these individuals at-large.

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

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.

Members of the public can report crime and suspicious activity by calling 866-347-2423 or completing the online tip form.

Learn more about ERO New York City’s mission to preserve public safety on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @ERONewYork.