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November 23, 2020Houston, TX, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ICE removes unlawfully present Salvadoran national wanted for membership in terrorist organization

HOUSTON — Officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Houston, Texas, removed an unlawfully present Salvadoran national Friday wanted in El Salvador for membership in a terrorist organization.

On Nov. 20, Erick Giovanni Portillo-Ayala, a 24-year-old documented MS-13 gang member and subject of an Interpol Red Notice, was flown on a charter flight coordinated by ICE Air Operations from Alexandria, La., to the El Salvador International Airport in San Salvador, El Salvador. Upon arrival, he was turned over to Salvadoran authorities.

Portillo-Ayala entered the U.S. illegally on April 6, 2014, and was taken into U.S. Border Patrol custody the same day near Sarita, Texas. On April 9, 2014, he was transferred into ICE custody at the Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Los Fresnos, Texas.

Portillo-Ayala was released from ICE custody on June 3, 2014, after posting a bond set by an Immigration Judge (IJ) with the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

On Oct. 16, 2018, an IJ ordered Portillo-Ayala removed from the United States to El Salvador, in absentia, after he failed to attend his immigration hearting.

On Nov. 5, 2020, ERO Houston arrested Portillo-Ayala in Houston, Texas, and on Nov. 20 he was removed to El Salvador.

ICE is focused on removing public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws. In FY 2019, ERO Houston removed 5,497 known or suspected gang members and more than 12,620 aliens with criminal convictions.

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. They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form.

Updated: 12/09/2020