WASHINGTON – A Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang member wanted for violent crimes in El Salvador was removed from the U.S. Friday by deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Reinaldo Gomez-Sandoval, 23, is wanted by El Salvadoran law enforcement authorities for membership to an illicit group, aggravated homicide and illegal imprisonment.
On Friday, he departed the U.S. from Alexandria International Airport in Louisiana escorted by ERO deportation officers via an ICE Air Operations charter. He was transferred to El Salvadoran law enforcement authorities upon his arrival in San Salvador, El Salvador. ICE offices in El Salvador and ERO’s Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) taskforce provided key assistance to the Washington field office ahead of Gomez’s arrest and subsequent removal.
“Alien fugitives hiding in our neighborhoods, attempting to avoid justice in their countries are on borrowed time,” said ERO Washington Field Office Director Russ Hott. “Law enforcement does not stop at international borders, but in fact is strengthened by the cooperative relationships and shared missions we have with our partners here at home and across the globe.”
Gomez entered the U.S. on an unknown date at an unknown location without being admitted or paroled. On Aug. 25, 2017, Homeland Security Investigations alongside the Fairfax County Police Department encountered Gomez during a Northern Virginia criminal enforcement operation and was subsequently issued a notice to appear in immigration court and turned over to ERO Washington. An immigration judge ordered Gomez removed from the U.S. to El Salvador.
ERO leverages its SAFE taskforce to prioritize criminal alien removal efforts on returning Salvadoran nationals previously identified as having active warrants of arrest, to include MS-13 gang members. The taskforce provides criminal history on Salvadoran nationals who may have fled to the U.S. to evade justice for their crimes in El Salvador, and are now in removal proceedings or living in the U.S. legally or illegally.
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, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.