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April 12, 2024Washington, DC, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO Washington, D.C. removes Mexican fugitive wanted in home country for kidnapping, drug trafficking

WASHINGTON — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington, D.C. removed a Mexican national who was wanted in his home country for kidnapping and drug trafficking charges. Deportation officers from ERO Washington, D.C. removed Francisco De Leon-Martinez, a 49-year-old Mexican noncitizen, April 10 and handed him over to Mexican authorities.

“Francisco De Leon-Martinez has broken several U.S. laws and his very presence in our country is an attempt to unlawfully hide from Mexican authorities,” said ERO Washington, D.C. Field Office Director Liana Castano. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that such criminals face the justice they attempt to evade. ERO Washington, D.C. will continue to prioritize public safety by working aggressively with our domestic and foreign law enforcement partners to arrest and remove such threats from our communities.”

De Leon-Martinez was previously voluntarily removed to Mexico in 2008 following an arrest by Laredo Police Department in Laredo, Texas, for possession of marijuana and engaging in organized criminal activity.

The government of Mexico issued an arrest warrant for De Leon-Martinez March 31, 2011, for kidnapping and drug trafficking.

He unlawfully reentered the United States on an unknown date and at an unknown location without being admitted, inspected or paroled by a U.S. immigration official.

On Nov. 15, 2014, the Laredo Police Department again arrested De Leon-Martinez for failure to appear on the prior drug charges. He was convicted on Dec. 22, 2014, of possession of marijuana and sentenced him to six years of probation. He was transferred to ERO San Antonio, which issued him a notice to appear before a Department of Justice (DOJ) immigration judge. ERO San Antonio released De Leon-Martinez May 1, 2015, on an order of supervision.

The Drug Enforcement Administration arrested De Leon-Martinez Jan. 20, 2021, and he was convicted by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Sept. 23 that year of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. The court sentenced him to 24 months of incarceration.

The Bureau of Prisons at the Federal Correctional Institute in Pollock, Louisiana, transferred De Leon-Martinez to ERO New Orleans’ custody pursuant to a detainer upon the completion of his sentence April 20, 2023. ERO New Orleans him to ERO Washington, D.C.’s custody and on March 4, 2024, a DOJ immigration judge in Annandale, Virginia, ordered De Leon-Martinez removed from the United States to Mexico.

Deportation officers from ERO Washington, D.C. coordinated his removal from the United States to Mexico through ERO Harlingen. Deportation officers with ERO Harlingen handed him over to Mexican authorities April 10.

ERO conducts removals of individuals without a lawful basis to remain in the United States, including at the order of immigration judges with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is a separate entity from DHS and ICE. Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case, determining if a noncitizen is subject to a final order of removal or eligible for certain forms of relief from removal.

ICE focuses on arresting noncitizens who have committed crimes and other individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws. ICE officers, informed by their experience and training, use their inherent discretion as law enforcement officials to focus enforcement resources on those who pose a threat to national security, public safety or border security. These efforts include noncitizens with final orders of removal. Cases amenable to federal criminal prosecution may be presented to the appropriate U.S. attorney’s office.

In fiscal year 2023, ERO arrested 73,822 noncitizens with criminal histories; this group had 290,178 associated charges and convictions with an average of four per individual. These included 33,209 assaults; 4,390 sex and sexual assaults; 7,520 weapons offenses; 1,713 charges or convictions for homicide; and 1,655 kidnapping offenses.

Members of the public can report crimes and suspicious activity by dialing 866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423) or completing the online tip form.

Learn more about ICE’s mission to increase public safety in your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @EROWashington.