NEW YORK – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) removed a Salvadoran national Friday, wanted in his home country on aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder charges. Oscar Anibal Benitez-Flores, 33, was removed from the United States via an ICE Air Operations Charter flight and transferred into the custody of Salvadoran law enforcement authorities.
According to Salvadoran law enforcement authorities, Benitez-Flores, along with another person, murdered an individual and attempted to murder another member of the 18th Street Gang and killed a rival MS-13 gang member, in Cuscatancingo, San Salvador. In August 2013, Benitez-Flores illegally entered the United States at an unknown place, on an unknown date. In February 2016, a judge of the Specialized Magistrates’ Court in San Miguel, El Salvador, issued an arrest warrant for Benitez-Flores for the charges of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated homicide. On Dec. 4, 2017, the ICE Pacific Enforcement Response Center (PERC) in Laguna Niguel, California, notified ERO New York, that Benitez-Flores had been arrested by the Suffolk County (NY) Police Department (SCPD) on local charges. ERO deportation officers attempted to lodge an immigration detainer, however Benitez-Flores had quickly posted bond, and was released from custody.
ERO El Salvador and its Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) taskforce provided critical assistance to ERO New York during the investigation of Benitez-Florez.
On July 9, 2018, ERO deportation officers arrested Benitez-Flores in Bayshore, New York, on immigration charges. On Jan. 29, 2019, Benitez-Flores was ordered removed by an immigration Judge in New York City, paving the way for his removal to El Salvador.
ICE removed or returned 258,085 aliens in fiscal year 2018. Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested 158,581 aliens, 90 percent of whom had criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, or previously issued final orders. The overall arrest figure represents an 11 percent increase over fiscal year 2017.
ICE is focused on removing public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.