The alleged leader of a major human smuggling organization that had smuggled individuals from the Middle East (primarily Iran) into South America, the United States, Canada and Europe was arrested Saturday. ICE provided significant assistance to the Brazil Federal Police to arrest Reza Sahami, a dual citizen of Canada and Iran, on human smuggling charges.
Dubbed “Operation Home Alone 2,” it is the culmination of a months-long proactive operation to combat child sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking in Pinal County. The Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) detectives lead the joint effort comprised of local, state and federal agencies to include HSI, who targeted sexual predators who attempted to lure underage children with the intent of engaging in sexual activity.
On Sept. 9, 2020, Rito Salomon Palacios, 51, from Laredo, pled guilty in front of U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana for wire fraud and extortion under color of official right.
Nelson Arturo Avalos, 32, a citizen of El Salvador, is known to be affiliated with the transnational criminal street organization known as Mara Salvatrucha “MS-13” and was removed by ICE ERO San Antonio via an ICE Air Operations charter flight without incident.
In February, Celin Villeda-Orellana, 33, was arrested by the Denver Police Department for sex assault on a child and ICE lodged an immigration detainer Feb. 11 with the Denver Justice Center. The document requested the DJC hold Villeda-Orellana briefly until ICE officers could pick him up prior to any planned release.
Justin Pham, 30, of Las Vegas, was charged with one count of illegal possession of a machine gun and two counts of possession of a firearm not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.
The investigation initially began in the City of Fort Myers and focused on identifying and eradicating major narcotics suppliers within the city. During the investigation, law enforcement identified multiple individuals allegedly responsible for the distribution of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine within the city, and throughout Lee County.
Nan Ma, 37, of Hurricane, Utah, is a Chinese citizen with legal permanent resident status in the United States. He faces a maximum penalty, for each of the three wire fraud counts of, 20 years in federal prison. The six money laundering counts each have a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
As part of the operation that led to the multimillion cash seizure, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducted an outbound cargo inspection on board the Motor Vessel Norma H II Voyage 818. During the inspection, a CBP K-9 alerted on pallets containing home moving boxes destined for St. Thomas.
HSI Dallas was able to locate the painting after receiving a tip from the HSI Attaché Office in Rome, Italy, in 2019. Based on that tip, HSI tracked the painting to a private art collector in the Dallas-area who had purchased the painting in 2015 from a dealer who was unaware that it was stolen.
According to court documents, Diego Tino-Calvo, 45, illegally entered the United States for the first time in 1998. Since then, he has illegally reentered the country at least 14 times and has twice been convicted of illegal reentry – once in 2011 and another time in 2017 – in two separate federal courts.
A federal grand jury in Wilmington charged seven foreign nationals on August 31 on federal felony charges including falsely claiming U.S. citizenship or making false statements on voter registration application, and with misdemeanor charges of unlawfully casting ballots in the 2016 presidential election.
David Pettigrew, 48, a former pastor at the Denison Church of the Nazarene in Denison, Texas, and Chad Michael Rider, 46, of Anna, Texas, were indicted by a grand jury Aug. 19 with conspiring to sexually exploit children and the charges were publicly announced today.
The arrests were made pursuant to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles that alleges a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy downloaded technical drawings and manuals related to U.S. military weapons systems and sold the items to a Newport Beach company, which later resold the documents to domestic and foreign customers.
Data captured from July 13 to Aug. 20 shows that ICE officers arrested 125 at-large individuals in central and south Texas living illegally in the U.S., or who are removable from the U.S. due to their criminal histories. About 85 percent of those arrested by ICE on immigration charges also had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.
ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Los Angeles identified, targeted, and arrested removable aliens who have been previously arrested, or have pending charges or convictions, for crimes against people – including, but not limited to, assault/battery, burglary, child cruelty, domestic violence, kidnapping, and sexual offenses.
During the enforcement action, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrested 122 at-large individuals living illegally in the U.S., or who are removable from the U.S. due to their criminal histories. About 85 percent of those arrested by ICE on immigration charges also had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.
During the enforcement action, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrested 63 at-large individuals living illegally in the U.S., or who are removable from the U.S. due to their criminal histories. About 85 percent of those arrested by ICE on immigration charges also had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.
The individuals arrested throughout New Jersey were nationals of Brazil (1), China (1), Colombia (2), Costa Rica (1), Dominican Republic (6), Ecuador (5), El Salvador (7), Guatemala (12), Guyana (1), Haiti (2), Honduras (8), India (1), Jamaica (1), Mexico (22), Nicaragua (1), Peru (2), Trinidad (1), United Kingdom (2), and Venezuela (1).
In FY 2019, ICE ERO arrested individuals with more than 1,900 convictions and charges for homicide, 1,800 for kidnapping, 12,000 sex offenses, 5,000 sexual assaults, 45,000 assaults, 67,000 crimes involving drugs, 10,000 weapons offenses, and 74,000 DUIs.
Data captured from July 13 to Aug. 20 shows that local ERO officers arrested more than 60 at-large individuals living illegally in the U.S., or who are removable from the U.S. due to their criminal convictions. Of the 67 arrested, 54 aliens had criminal convictions.
In New York, ICE ERO officers arrested 83 individuals from 25 countries, including Albania, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, India, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Russia, Trinidad, and Uzbekistan.
ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive, agency-wide review of this incident, as it does in all such cases. Fatalities in ICE custody, statistically, are exceedingly rare and occur at a fraction of the national average for the U.S. detained population.