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Enforcement and Removal
08/22/2018

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ICE removes 2 wanted by Salvadoran authorities to face criminal charges

ICE removes 2 wanted by Salvadoran authorities to face criminal charges

NEW YORK — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) removed two Salvadoran nationals Aug 22; one is wanted for homicide and the other for aggravated theft.

Melvin Valencia-Menjivar, 38, wanted for aggravated homicide, and Joel Medina-Molina, 33, wanted for aggravated theft and illicit groupings charges, were removed from the United States via an ICE Air Operations Charter flight and transferred into the custody of Salvadoran law enforcement authorities.

“Both of these individuals thought they could hide among us while they were wanted in their home country for criminal prosecution.  We know that New York cannot, and will not, be a safe haven for those criminals who seek refuge in our communities,” said Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ERO New York.  “ICE officers perform their duties every day with dignity and with the pride of knowing their efforts result in removing criminal aliens like Mejivar and Molina from our country.”

According to Salvadoran law enforcement authorities, in January 2006, Valencia-Menjivar, along with other members of the 18th Street Gang, killed a rival MS-13 gang member, in Cuscatancingo, San Salvador.  In November 2007, Salvadoran law enforcement authorities in San Salvador, El Salvador, issued an arrest warrant, charging Valencia-Menjivar with Aggravated Homicide.  Valencia-Menjivar then illegally entered the United States at an unknown place, on an unknown date. In February 2016, the ICE Attaché in El Salvador notified ERO New York that Valencia-Menjivar may be residing in the New York City metropolitan area.

On Feb. 10, 2017, ERO deportation officers arrested Valencia-Menjivar in Richmond Hill, New York, on immigration charges. On Feb. 13, 2018, Valencia-Menjivar was ordered removed to El Salvador by an immigration Judge. On March 8, Valencia-Menjivar appealed that decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). On March 24, 2017, an Interpol Red Notice was issued for Valencia-Menjivar. On July 25, the BIA dismissed Valencia-Menjivar’s appeal, paving the way for his removal to El Salvador.

Also, according to Salvadoran law enforcement authorities, between June and October 2010, Medina-Molina, along with others, on three separate occasions, stole goods, vehicles, and cash from victims. In August 2013, Salvadoran law enforcement authorities in San Miguel, El Salvador, issued an arrest warrant, charging Medina-Molina with aggravated theft and illicit groupings. Medina-Molina then illegally entered the United States at an unknown place, on an unknown date.

On Dec. 11, 2015, Medina-Molina was convicted of sexual misconduct, in Suffolk County First District Court, in Central Islip, New York, and required to register as a sexual offender. While in custody, Medina-Molina was encountered by an ERO deportation while in the custody of the Suffolk County Jail, and a detainer was lodged. In February 2016, Medina-Molina  was transferred to ICE custody, and placed into removal proceedings. In August 2016, Medina-Molina bonded out of ICE custody. On Nov. 8, 2017, Medina-Molina was ordered removed by an immigration judge, in New York City. On Jan. 30, 2018, Medina-Molina was arrested in Suffolk County, New York, and charged with criminal contempt, and failure to register as a sex offender. On Feb. 2, 2018, ICE lodged an immigration detainer with the Suffolk County Jail. On July 23, 2018, Medina-Molina  was transferred to ICE custody, paving the way for his removal to El Salvador.

Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 1,700 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. In fiscal year 2017, ICE conducted 226,119 removals nationwide. Eighty-three percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a criminal offense.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/16/2018