HOUSTON – An illegal alien from Honduras with a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer pleaded guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to 45 years in prison Monday in Montgomery County (Texas).
Melvin Ramirez-Russel, 39, was brought to ICE’s attention by the Montgomery County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) in January after they arrested him for brutally killing Gerardo Munoz de la Paz and attempting to cover up the crime by disposing of the body.
After being alerted to Ramirez-Russel’s presence, ICE lodged a detainer with MCSO on Jan. 31. Ramirez-Russel illegally entered the United States in 2006 near Hidalgo, Texas. He has not been previously encountered by immigration officials prior to MCSO alerting ICE to his presence. ICE will seek to take custody of Ramirez-Russel following his release from prison and place him in removal proceedings.
MCSO maintains a partnership with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) under the 287 (g) Program (Delegation of Immigration Authority) to notify the agency when they encounter someone who is illegally present in the United States.
The 287 (g) Program is a cost-effective program that prioritizes the arrest and detention of criminal aliens in the interest of public safety, while strengthening partnerships between ICE and local law enforcement. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, the 287(g) Program encountered approximately 775 aliens convicted for assault, 704 convicted for dangerous drugs, 145 convicted for sex offenses/assaults, 173 convicted for obstructing police, 110 convicted for weapon offenses, and 21 convicted for homicide.