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July 25, 2019San Francisco, CA, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

Salvadoran gangster removed to his home county to face charges for gang violence, murder

SAN FRANCISCO ― Today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) removed Melvin Armando Cortez-Moreno, an active member of the 18th Street Gang, to his home country of El Salvador where local authorities took him into custody.

Cortez-Moreno, 30, is wanted by the Salvadoran government for multiple egregious crimes, including charges of manslaughter, murder and other crimes with ties to 18th Street Gang activity.

Cortez-Moreno entered the United States on an unknown date and place without inspection or parole by an immigration officer. However, the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) first encountered him June 11, 2015, near South Komelik, Arizona, and arrested him for immigration law violations. The USBP transferred him to ERO Phoenix custody June 13, 2015.

On Sept.14, 2015, an immigration judge granted Cortez-Moreno bond. After posting bond, Sept.15, 2015, ERO Phoenix released Cortez-Moreno from ICE custody on an order of supervision. Upon his release, Cortez-Moreno immediately filed a motion for change of venue from Florence, Arizona, to San Francisco.

On Sept. 24, 2015, an immigration judge in Florence, Arizona, granted Cortez-Moreno a change of venue to San Francisco. However, Cortez-Moreno later received an order for removal, June 14, 2017, to El Salvador issued by a San Francisco immigration judge because he failed to appear for his immigration court proceedings.

On July 31, 2017, ERO San Francisco sent the individual or entity that posted Cortez-Moreno’s bond a Form I-340. This document by law required the individual or entity that posted his bond to surrender him to ERO San Francisco authorities. The responsible individual or entity failed to surrender Cortez-Moreno into ERO San Francisco custody on the required date. 

Cortez-Moreno was recently arrested, July 7, 2019, by the Sacramento Police Department for Driving Under the Influence Causing Bodily Injury.

On July 9, 2019, the Sacramento County Superior Court dropped the criminal charges against Cortez-Moreno. That day, ERO San Francisco arrested Cortez-Moreno outside of the Sacramento County Jail and took him into ICE custody pending immigration removal proceedings.

Criminal aliens, like Cortez-Moreno, are not only a danger to communities, but also pose a threat to the officers who apprehend them and ICE’s ERO officers who escort them back to their home countries. Nevertheless, ICE ERO remains 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.

Updated: 01/20/2021