FAIRFAX, Va. — An El Salvadoran man wanted in his home country for aggravated homicide and membership in an illicit group was removed from the U.S. Friday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Upon his arrival in El Salvador, ERO officers transferred Jose Ricardo Portillo-Morales, 28, to the custody of the Policia Nacional Civil (PNC), El Salvador’s national police. Portillo-Morales is allegedly a member of “Lil Cycos Salvatruchas” (GLCS), a clique of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang.
ERO officers previously removed Portillo-Morales from the U.S. in May 2011 after he was convicted of grand larceny and credit card fraud. He illegally re-entered the U.S. at an unknown time and place.
ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested Portillo-Morales at his residence in Centreville in September 2013, reinstated his prior order of removal and placed him in the custody of the U.S. Marshals. He was convicted of re-entry after deportation in March 2014 and transferred to the custody of ERO Washington in July 2014.
This removal was part of ERO’s Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) Initiative. The SAFE Initiative is geared toward the identification of 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 500 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 the 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.