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December 2, 2022Atlanta, GA, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

Foreign fugitive on 100 Most Wanted list by El Salvador Police, removed to El Salvador

ATLANTA — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Atlanta, ERO El Salvador, and the El Salvador Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) removed an unlawfully present foreign fugitive on the El Salvador Police’s 100 Most Wanted list to El Salvador, Dec. 2.

Eric Hernandez Bonilla, a 24-year-old unlawfully present Salvadoran national, was flown from Alexandria, Louisiana, to the El Salvador International Airport. Upon arrival, he was turned over to the proper authorities.

Hernandez Bonilla illegally entered the U.S. on an unknown date and at an unknown location without inspection or parole. On Sept. 21, 2021, SAFE notified ERO Atlanta of Hernandez Bonilla’s active warrants for aggravated resisting arrest, conspiracy to commit homicide, and homicide.

ERO Atlanta arrested Hernandez Bonilla Sept. 23, 2021, in Beaufort, South Carolina during a targeted law enforcement action and took him into ICE custody. On April 29, an immigration judge within the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review ordered Hernandez Bonilla removed to El Salvador.

“The United States was not a safe haven for this dangerous foreign fugitive who thought he could hide in our communities,” said Sean Ervin, field office director of ERO Atlanta. “Our immigration officers are uniquely qualified to track down unlawfully present foreign fugitives and return them to their home countries so they can face justice.”

In 2012, ERO created the SAFE pilot program in concert with Salvadoran law enforcement authorities 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. SAFE El Salvador was so effective in enhancing intelligence leads and optimizing removal operations between the U.S. and El Salvador that the neighboring countries of Honduras and Guatemala also adopted the program.

SAFE is a fugitive enforcement and information sharing partnership that operates primarily out of the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras under the respective host nation’s assistant attaché for removal (AAR) and under the supervision of the regional deputy attaché for removal assigned in Guatemala City. To implement SAFE, a participating host nation’s AAR 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.

ICE’s ERO directorate upholds U.S. immigration law at, within and beyond our borders. ERO operations target public safety threats, such as convicted criminal noncitizens and gang members, as well as individuals who have otherwise violated our nation's immigration laws, including those who illegally reentered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges. ERO deportation officers assigned to Interpol also assist in targeting and apprehending foreign fugitives or fugitive arrest and removal cases who are wanted for crimes committed abroad and who are now at-large in the United States. ERO manages all aspects of the immigration enforcement process, including identification and arrest, detention, bond management, supervised release, transportation and removal. In addition, ERO repatriates noncitizens ordered removed from the U.S. to more than 170 countries around the world.

Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE Tip Line at 866-DHS-2-ICE 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 ERO Atlanta field office carries out its immigration enforcement mission in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, follow us on Twitter @EROAtlanta.