PHILADELPHIA — Two Dominican nationals wanted for murder and manslaughter in their home country were removed Tuesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Philadelphia. ERO previously removed one of the individuals in 2011.
Both Jose Silvestre-Ortega and Jonathan Rosario Morillo were turned over to Dominican authorities without incident upon their arrival in the Dominican Republic.
In 1995, Silvestre-Ortega lawfully entered the United States at San Juan, Puerto Rico; however, in 2005, he was convicted of an aggravated felony for his involvement in a conspiracy to distribute and possess more than five kilograms of cocaine, which made him a removable alien under the Immigration and Nationality Act. In July 2010, ERO officers encountered Ortega and issued him a notice to appear in immigration court based on his 2005 criminal conviction. In August 2010, Silvestre-Ortega did not appear for his immigration court hearing, and an immigration judge in Philadelphia ordered him removed in absentia. ERO officers located and arrested Silvestre-Ortega in September 2011 and removed him to the Dominican Republic for the first time that same month.
At some point thereafter, Silvestre-Ortega re-entered the United States, and in February 2015, ERO officers arrested him near his residence in Philadelphia and served him a notice of intent/decision to reinstate the prior order of removal. After his arrest, he was also criminally charged with illegal re-entry after deportation. In November 2015, Silvestre-Ortega was convicted of that charge in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania and sentenced to 48 months incarceration.
Silvestre-Ortega filed a motion to reopen his case in August 2018, which was granted by an immigration judge. In April 2019, an immigration judge once again ordered Silvestre-Ortega removed from the United States, and Silvestre-Ortega waived his right to appeal.
Rosario Morillo illegally entered the United States at an unknown date and location. In April 2018, he was convicted of federal felony charges of distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. ERO officers encountered Rosario Morillo in June 2018 at the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center and lodged an immigration detainer. Pursuant to the detainer, Rosario Morillo entered ICE custody that same month. He was detained at the York County Prison in York, Pennsylvania, until his removal to the Dominican Republic.