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Enforcement and Removal

ICE arrests 18 during 5-day operation targeting criminal aliens, immigration fugitives in eastern Missouri

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — As part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) ongoing commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, 18 convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and immigration violators were arrested this week during a five day operation in Missouri.

This operation concluded Friday and was conducted by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Fugitive Operations Teams.

Of the 18 arrested, 11 had convictions for crimes such as: drug possession and trafficking, prostitution, theft, and felony identity theft. Four of the 18 had been previously deported and illegally re-entered the United States, which is a felony.

Following is the nationality breakdown of the 18 men who were arrested during this operation: Mexico (11), Guatemala (3), Bosnia (1), Honduras (1), Poland (1) and Romania (1).

One of those arrested during this operation is a 23-year-old Romanian national who was convicted for manufacturing and distributing a controlled substance. He was arrested Dec. 12 at his place of employment in St. Clair, Mo., and remains in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

"These latest arrests of convicted criminal aliens and egregious immigration violators underscore ICE's ongoing commitment to public safety," said Ricardo Wong, field office director of ERO Chicago, which includes Missouri. "By conducting targeted enforcement actions like this operation, we immediately improve safety in our communities."

These arrests were coordinated with ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives – aliens who have ignored final orders of deportation handed down by the nation's immigration courts. ICE's Fugitive Operations Teams give top priority to cases involving aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety, including members of transnational street gangs and child sex offenders.