NEW YORK – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested a Salvadoran national and documented member of the transnational criminal street gang known as “18th Street,” wanted in his home country on charges of manslaughter/murder, injury causing death, and gang participation.
ERO New York’s Fugitive Operations Team, assisted by Special Response Team (SRT), arrested Jose Magdaleno Lopez-Calderon, 26, in Queens, New York, May 20.
U.S Border Patrol (USBP) agents initially encountered Lopez-Calderon in September 2013, after he illegally entered the U.S. without inspection, near Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and was later transferred to ICE custody pending removal proceedings. In December 2013, an immigration judge granted Lopez-Calderon bond and he was released from ICE custody after he posted bond.
In May 2017, the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested Lopez-Calderon for driving while intoxicated and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. The Kings County Criminal Court of the State of New York convicted him for the crime in December 2019.
In June 2018, NYPD arrested Lopez-Calderon for fare evasion, but released him from custody before ICE could lodge a detainer in order to take him into custody as he violated the conditions of his bond release.
In March 2019, ERO’s Transnational Law Enforcement Operations Unit (TLEO) advised ERO New York that Lopez-Calderon was the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice for murder in El Salvador, and the suspect may be residing in the New York metropolitan area.
The NYPD again arrested Lopez-Calderon on Sept. 28, 2019, for second-degree assault: intent to cause serious injury with a weapon; third-degree assault: with intent to cause physical injury; two counts of second-degree harassment: physical contact; and third-degree menacing.
On the same date, ERO officers lodged a detainer with the New York City Department of Correction (NYCDOC). NYCDOC did not honor the detainer and Lopez-Calderon, who had a pending felony charge, was released from local custody and released back into the community.
Following his most recent arrest by ICE officers on May 20, Lopez-Calderon will remain in custody pending the completion of removal proceedings before a federal immigration judge.
ICE lodges detainers on individuals arrested on criminal charges who the agency has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. Detainers ask law enforcement agencies to notify ICE in advance of the release of the alien and to maintain custody until ICE can take custody of the individual in a safe, secure setting.
Law enforcement agencies that fail to honor immigration detainers and release criminals onto the streets undermine ICE’s ability to carry out its mission and protect public safety.
Sanctuary policies put public safety at risk
When law enforcement agencies do not honor ICE detainers, these individuals – who often have significant criminal histories – are released onto the street and can pose a risk to public safety.
When ICE Fugitive Operations officers have to go out into the community to proactively locate these criminal aliens, it can create additional risks to agency personnel and public safety.
Local jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with ICE will likely see an increase in ICE enforcement activity, as the agency is forced to conduct at-large arrest operations.
A consequence of at-large arrest operations is that ICE is likely to encounter other unlawfully present foreign nationals that would not have been encountered had the agency been allowed to take custody of a criminal target within the confines of a local jail.
Additionally, once these criminals are out on the street, confirming their whereabouts is often a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. Many individuals ICE targets for arrest are seasoned criminals who are savvy about eluding law enforcement.
Despite the challenges that local policies have created for the agency, ICE remains committed to ensuring public safety and will continue to uphold its duty to arrest and remove dangerous criminal aliens and other immigration violators.
ICE seeks straightforward cooperation with all local law enforcement and elected officials.