WASHINGTON — A Salvadorian man living in Harrisonburg, Va., wanted in El Salvador for aggravated murder, was arrested by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in May and removed to El Salvador this week.
Jose Leonel Ramos-Hernandez, 31, had previously been removed from the United States and has a criminal conviction for felony malicious wounding. He was a leader of the MS-13 Silvas Locos Salvatruch clique in Harrisonburg.
On May 1, the FBI, through another investigation, received information that Ramos was living in Harrisonburg and contacted the ERO Washington Field Office.
ERO, with assistance from the FBI and Harrisonburg Police, arrested Ramos at his workplace. Upon his arrest, Ramos' previous deportation order from April 16, 1997, was reinstated. A fingerprint analysis confirmed that he was the subject of an active warrant in El Salvador.
"This arrest and removal is another great example of the great work being done by ERO officers and our law enforcement partners with ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI and the Harrisonburg Police Department," said Acting Field Office Director Leonard DeSanti. "Dangerous people such as Mr. Ramos, a gang member wanted for a heinous crime in his home country, are hiding in our communities. Each day, our officers are working tirelessly to find and remove these individuals."
Ramos' deportation is another example of expanded bi-national cooperation to identify, arrest and repatriate Salvadoran criminal suspects who have fled to the United States to avoid prosecution. ICE officers work closely with El Salvador's Policía Nacional Civil (PNC), the Salvadoran National Interpol Office and Salvadoran immigration officials as part of this effort.
In the first nine months of fiscal year 2013, the PNC executed approximately 128 criminal arrest warrants on fugitives returned to El Salvador via ICE removal flights. Many of those arrests involved homicide-related charges or other violent crimes.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 645 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with HSI's Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.