MIAMI - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrested 24 foreign nationals during a six-day enforcement action in South Florida targeting convicted criminal aliens identified in violation of U.S. immigration law.
The enforcement operation, which began Feb. 15 and ended on Thursday, Feb. 24, targeted at-large criminal aliens with convictions for drug trafficking, violent crimes and sex offenses.
Nineteen of the individuals had criminal records, including murder and drug trafficking, four were ICE fugitives with final orders of deportation and one had been previously deported.
"Arresting convicted criminals and immigration fugitives is a top priority for ICE ERO," said Marc Moore, field office director for ICE ERO in Miami. "Those who come to the United States to prey upon our neighbors and communities will be prosecuted for their crimes and ultimately returned to their home countries. The results of this and last week's operation demonstrate ICE's commitment to making our communities safer for everyone."
All 24 were arrested administratively for being in violation of immigration law, and all are being held in ICE custody pending immigration removal proceedings or removal from the United States.
The 24 alien arrests include 10 arrests in Miami-Dade County, four arrests in Broward County and 10 arrests in Monroe County. The overall criminal alien arrests include 20 men and four women, representing six different nations, including countries in Latin America, Asia, Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
ICE ERO officers arrested:
- A 35-year-old citizen and national of Colombia, residing in Broward County, Fla. He has a prior 2008 conviction in Palm Beach County, Fla. for domestic battery by strangulation.
- A 33-year-old citizen and national of Honduras, residing in Miami-Dade County, Fla. He has prior 2010 convictions in Miami-Dade County for murder, possession of a deadly weapon, aggravated battery, child abuse, causing great bodily harm and torture.
- A 44-year-old citizen and national of Honduras, residing in Miami, Fla. His prior criminal convictions in Miami-Dade County from 1990 to 2011 include simple assault, resisting officer without violence, cocaine possession, fleeing/eluding police officer, disorderly intoxication, carrying a concealed weapon, battery, drinking in public, trespassing, obstructing a police officer and cannabis possession. He illegally re-entered the United States after being deported in 1991.
- A 19-year-old citizen and national of Haiti, residing in Key West, Fla. He has a prior 2010 conviction in Monroe County for selling and possessing cocaine.
- A 35-year-old citizen and national of Haiti, residing in Key West. He has prior 2003 to 2010 convictions in Monroe County for cocaine distribution within 1000 feet of a church or school, battery and criminal mischief. He has also been identified as a member of the Zoe Pound gang in Key West.
Those who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country. The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.
This enforcement operation is just one facet of the Department of Homeland Security's broader strategy to heighten the federal government's effectiveness at identifying and removing dangerous criminal aliens from the United States.