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September 25, 2020Denver, COUnited StatesEnforcement and Removal

ICE arrests Honduran national on agency’s 'Most Wanted' list in Denver

DENVER — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) successfully arrested a Honduran national on the agency’s “Most Wanted” list Friday in Denver.

ICE located Joe Toro-Zaldivar, 36, a citizen of Honduras illegally present in the United States, about two miles from the Denver church where he has taken sanctuary since July. Toro was combative, actively resisted and attempted to strike one of the officers during the arrest.

“Toro is a clear threat to public safety, and I’m proud of my officers for locating and arresting him so he can face justice for the crimes he is charged with committing,” said John Fabbricatore, field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations Denver. “Despite misguided attempts by local officials to confuse the public, ICE’s targeted enforcement efforts make communities safer for all persons whatever their immigration status may be.”

Toro was previously removed from the United States in 2005 and illegally reentered in 2010. ERO officers took custody of him May 20 from Lake County Sheriff’s Department following his arrest by local authorities on assault and strangulation charges. Those charges are pending.

ERO released Toro back to Lake County Sheriff’s Department on a writ of habeas corpus May 28. Following his legal proceedings there, a Lake County judge failed to honor the writ and released Toro on bond June 1. Since that time, he has been at-large and an “ICE Most Wanted” fugitive.

ICE focuses its limited resources, first and foremost, on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety and border security and does not target aliens indiscriminately; the agency conducts investigations and gathers intelligence on specific individuals for immigration enforcement.

Targets are often those who were arrested on local criminal charges or have blatant disregard for U.S. immigration laws. The agency’s arrest statistics clearly reflect this. Nationally, approximately 86 percent of ERO’s administrative arrests during fiscal year 2019 either had criminal convictions or were pending criminal charges.

In most cases, once aliens pending criminal prosecution are transferred to ICE or otherwise enter ICE custody, ICE works with the prosecutor and law enforcement authorities, such as the district attorney’s office and relevant sheriff’s office, to ensure these aliens attend any and all criminal court proceedings. This ICE-district attorney cooperation involves transferring custody of aliens as necessary via writs of habeas corpus to further a criminal prosecution and ensure the alien is returned to ICE custody once the proceedings are finished. Such writs may also be used to ensure that aliens in ICE custody appear in court as witnesses.

Updated: 09/30/2020