31 arrested in San Diego-area ICE operation targeting criminal aliens

SAN DIEGO — A total of 31 individuals, including nearly two dozen criminal aliens, were taken into custody during an enforcement operation carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in San Diego last week.

The three day operation, which concluded Friday, was conducted by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) as part of the agency's commitment to prioritize the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration violators.

Of the individuals taken into custody, 23 were criminal aliens whose conviction histories included child sex crimes, battery, domestic violence, embezzlement and possession of narcotics. The group also included five immigration fugitives with outstanding orders of deportation and 13 previously deported aliens.

Those arrested during the operation include:

A 51-year-old Mexican man who now faces removal following his conviction and year-long incarceration for committing lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of 14; and
A twice deported 55-year-old Mexican man with a lengthy criminal history, including prior convictions for domestic violence, drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs, felony theft, violating a protective order, resisting a public officer and possession of controlled substance. He was removed to Mexico last week.

"ERO is committed to working hard to make our communities safer by arresting and removing convicted criminal aliens and those who blatantly ignore their deportation orders without regard for our nation's immigration laws," said Robin Baker, field officer director for ERO San Diego. "With targeted enforcement operations, we are focusing our resources on the most egregious offenders and improving public safety for the law-abiding residents in our communities."

The 25 men and six women arrested during the operation include foreign nationals from three countries – Mexico, Guatemala and Russia. The arrests took place in Chula Vista, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, La Mesa, Oceanside, San Diego, San Marcos and Vista.

Last week's enforcement action was coordinated with ICE's National Fugitive Operations Program, which is responsible for investigating, locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens and immigration fugitives – aliens who have ignored final orders of deportation handed down by federal immigration courts. ICE's Fugitive Operations Teams give top priority to cases involving aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety, including members of transnational street gangs and child sex offenders.