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April 15, 2021Reno, NV, United StatesEnforcement and Removal, National Security

ICE Nevada arrests MS-13 member wanted in El Salvador

RENO, Nev. — An unlawfully present Salvadoran national, wanted by authorities in his home country for multiple aggravated felony charges, was arrested Thursday.

The arrest was conducted by a coalition of federal and local law enforcement officials led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and in partnership with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) task force, Churchill County Sheriff's Office, Fallon Police Department and the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Diego Antonio Ayala-Benitez, 24, is a known or suspected member of the transnational criminal street organization known as Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). He is wanted in El Salvador on gang participation charges related to extortion, purchasing firearms and for involvement in armed robbery.

“Working with our federal and local law enforcement partners, we are dedicated to our mission of removing fugitives who threaten the safety of our communities,” said Denice Seemiller, acting field office director for ERO Salt Lake.

“This arrest demonstrates the importance of maintaining strong local and international communication with our law enforcement partners to ensure individuals, wanted for serious crimes back home, aren’t able to seek refuge in our communities,” said Francisco Burrola, special agent in charge of HSI Las Vegas. “HSI remains committed to ensuring our neighborhoods are safe from wanted criminals like wanted MS-13 gang members.”

The Specialized Magistrates Court in San Miguel, El Salvador, issued an arrest warrant for Ayala-Benitez on June 2, 2016.

Ayala-Benitez is a current ICE enforcement priority as both a public safety threat and a recent border security violator. He remains in ICE custody.

Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE Tip Line at 1 (866) 347-2423, or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199, or by completing ICE’s online tip form.

ICE is now implementing the interim civil immigration enforcement priorities directed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to focus its limited resources on threats to national security, border security and public safety. ICE continues to carry out its duty to enforce the laws of the United States in accordance with the Department’s national security and public safety mission.