WASHINGTON — As part of the Obama administration's ongoing commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced the results of a seven-day national "Cross Check" enforcement operation-which led to the arrest of more than 2,900 convicted criminal aliens.
"The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE's ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation's immigration system," said ICE Director John Morton. "Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers and agents in tracking down at large criminal aliens and fugitives, there are 2,901 fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods across the country."
This seven-day operation, the largest of its kind, involved the collaboration of more than 1,900 ICE officers and agents from all of ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations' (ERO) 24 field offices, as well as coordination with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners throughout the United States. Arrests occurred in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.
All of the 2,901 individuals taken into custody had prior criminal convictions including at least 1,282 aliens who had multiple criminal convictions. More than 1,600 of those arrested had felony convictions including manslaughter, attempted murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, drug trafficking, child abuse, sexual crimes against minors, and aggravated assault. Of the total 2,901 criminal aliens arrested, 42 were gang members and 151 were convicted sex offenders.
In addition to being convicted criminals, 681 of those arrested were also immigration fugitives who had previously been ordered to leave the country but failed to depart. Additionally, 386 were illegal re-entrants who had been previously removed from the country multiple times. Because of their serious criminal histories and prior immigration arrest records, at least 146 of those arrested during the enforcement action were presented to U.S attorneys for prosecution on a variety of charges including illegal re-entry after deportation, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
The arrestees include:
- Virgilio Lopez-Ruiz, 54, a national of the Dominican Republic, who was residing in the Bronx, N.Y., convicted on Nov. 16, 1988, of second degree attempted murder.
- Ike Romanus Bright, 51, a national of Nigeria, who was residing in Kyle, Texas, was an ICE fugitive alien convicted on Nov. 5, 1986, of second degree attempted murder.
- Jose Gallardo, 51, a national of Mexico, who was residing in North Hollywood, Calif., convicted on March 21, 1996, of kidnapping a child under 14 years of age and shooting at an occupied dwelling. The Department of Justice is filing criminal charges for illegally re-entering the United States after having been removed.
- Ian Kirt Kuar, 52, a national of Trinidad and Tobago, who was residing in Hauppauge, N.Y., convicted on Nov. 14, 1975, of second degree manslaughter and convicted on May 12, 1995, of fifth degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.
- Roberto Hackett-Baquie, 54, a national of Panama, who was residing in Stone Mountain, Ga., convicted on March 26, 2008, of child molestation.
- Euford Brown, 60, a national of Jamaica, who was residing in Mattapan, Mass., was an ICE fugitive alien and a registered sex offender convicted on April 2, 1986, of rape.
- Austin Alfredo Alonzo-Fiallos, 36, a national of Honduras, who was residing in West Columbia, S.C., was an ICE fugitive alien convicted on March 2, 1998, of felony burglary-armed assault and felony assault and battery on official employee. He is also wanted in Miami on charges of attempted first degree murder and charges of kidnapping, burglary and armed assault. He is pending extradition to Miami on the criminal charges.
ICE conducted the first successful Cross Check operation in December 2009, and has since conducted Cross Check operations in 37 states, including regional operations in the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest regions. In May, ICE conducted the first nationwide Cross Check operation. These previous Cross Check operations resulted in ICE arresting 4,506 convicted criminals, fugitives and aliens nationwide who have illegally re-entered the United States after removal.
Last week's enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP), which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives. The officers who conducted last week's operation received substantial assistance from ICE's Fugitive Operations Support Center (FOSC) and ICE's Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) both located in Williston, Vt.
ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security. ICE also prioritizes the arrest and removal of those who game the immigration system including immigration fugitives or those criminal aliens who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country.