FAIRFAX, Va. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that its Washington, D.C. Fugitive Operations Team arrested a fugitive alien on Dec. 27, 2007, who was also wanted for sexual abuse of a minor in Prince William County, VA. Raul Ernesto Sarmiento Sanchez, a 48-year-old Honduran national, ignored an immigration judgeâs order of removal and has been a fugitive since 1997.
The Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force (CARFTF) was also seeking to arrest Sarmiento for sexual battery. Sarmiento was wanted since January 2007 for allegedly abusing a minor in December 2006. Sarmiento had also been charged with domestic violence.
The Capital Area Region Fugitive Task Force, led by the U.S. Marshals Service, consists of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, including Fugitive Operations officers from ICEâs Washington Field Office. As a member of the task force, ICE conducted its own fugitive investigation of Sarmiento and was able to develop additional information on Sarmientoâs whereabouts. ICE Officers took Sarmiento into custody last Thursday without incident at a Fairfax County apartment, where he was hiding in a closet.
"It is very important that ICE continues to work closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, particularly in matters of public safety," said acting ICE Field Office Director Vincent Archibeque. "In this case, our membership in this task force resulted in the arrest of an ICE fugitive who was also wanted by local authorities. It was a win-win situation." ICE turned Sarmiento over to Prince William County authorities, who are also on the task force. After prosecution on the local criminal charges, Sarmiento will be taken into ICE custody and removed from the United States.
ICE established its Fugitive Operations Program in 2003 to eliminate the nationâs backlog of immigration fugitives and ensure that deportation orders handed down by immigration judges are enforced. The teams prioritize cases involving immigration violators who pose a threat to national security and community safety. These include child sexual exploiters, suspected gang members and those who have convictions for any violent crimes.