DALLAS — A Salvadoran woman, who is a gang member wanted for aggravated extortion in her home country, was deported Friday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Dallas.
This removal is the latest result of stepped up collaborative efforts to locate Salvadoran criminal fugitives in the United States and return them to El Salvador to face justice.
Katherine Giselle Ortiz Gutierrez, 18, was flown to El Salvador Aug. 21 onboard a charter flight coordinated by ICE’s Air Operations (IAO) Unit. Upon arrival, Ortiz Gutierrez was turned over to officials from the El Salvador’s Policia Nacional Civil (PNC).
The El Salvador arrest warrant states that Ortiz Gutierrez is one of the gang members that was allegedly blackmailing bus drivers. According to the arrest warrant, gang members threated to kill all drivers of a bus company if $20 USD per bus was not paid to the gang.
Ortiz Gutierrez was arrested and convicted of a misdemeanor in June 2015 in Garland, Texas.
On June 9, the ICE Attaché in San Salvador verified the El Salvador arrest warrant for Ortiz Gutierrez for aggravated extortion. On July 28, an immigration judge in Dallas ordered her deported to El Salvador. She waived her right to appeal this decision.
Ortiz Gutierrez is the latest Salvadoran removal as part of ERO’s Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) Initiative. The SAFE Initiative is geared toward identifying foreign fugitives who are wanted abroad and removable under U.S. immigration law. In just three years, through the SAFE Initiative, ERO has removed more than 480 criminal fugitives to El Salvador. Those removed as part of the SAFE Initiative have been deemed ineligible to remain in the United States and were all wanted by PNC. SAFE aligns with ERO’s public safety priorities and eliminates the need for formal extradition requests.
In fiscal year 2014, ERO removed 315,943 individuals from the United States. In addition to convicted criminals, the agency's enforcement priorities include those apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, illegal re-entrants — individuals who returned to the United States after being previously removed by ICE — and immigration fugitives. In fiscal year 2014, 98 percent of ICE removals met these priorities.