LOS ANGELES–A Mexican national formerly convicted of attempted murder of a police officer and a Salvadoran gang member with a lengthy rap sheet are among the 112 foreign nationals arrested in the greater Los Angeles area over the last four days during an operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targeting at-large criminals.
All of the 100 men and 12 women taken into custody by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers during this week’s operation, which concluded late Wednesday, had criminal histories. The majority 62 had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as child sex crimes, weapons charges, and assault. The remaining arrestees had past convictions for significant or multiple misdemeanors. One of those taken into custody is a previously deported criminal who will now be presented for federal prosecution for re-entry after removal, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The remaining arrestees will be processed administratively for removal from the United States. Those who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country, according to ICE. The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.
Among those arrested during this week’s operation were:
- A 64-year-old Mexican male arrested in unincorporated Riverside County near Hemet July 17 who has a 1996 conviction for attempted murder of a police officer;
- A 46-year-old male from Tonga arrested July 17 in Rancho Cucamonga who has prior conviction for assault with a deadly weapon;
- A 37-year-old Salvadoran gang member arrested in Los Angeles July 18 who has a lengthy rap sheet, including previous convictions for burglary, attempted burglary, receiving stolen property and DUI; and a
- A 45-year-old Mexican male arrested July 19 in Los Angeles who was previously convicted of assault to commit rape and failure to register as a sex offender.
While the largest number of those taken into custody during the enforcement action are originally from Mexico (89), a total of 11 countries are represented, including El Salvador (7); Guatemala (5); Belize (2); Honduras (2); Vietnam (2); Egypt (1); Philippines (1); Tonga (1); the United Kingdom (1); and Azerbaijan (1).
Of the six Southland counties and more than 50 communities where arrests occurred, Los Angeles County accounted for the largest number of apprehensions (56), followed by San Bernardino County (16); Orange County (13); Riverside County (12); Ventura County (11); and Santa Barbara County (4).
All of the targets in this operation met the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) two top immigration enforcement priorities as established in DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s 2014 memorandum. Priority one targets include threats to national security, criminal street gang members, convicted felons, and aggravated felons. Priority two targets include convictions for three or more misdemeanors or convictions for significant misdemeanors, including DUIs, ICE reports.
ICE officials say Secretary Johnson has directed ICE to prioritize the use of enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal assets to support the Department’s civil immigration enforcement priorities.