Federal immigration officers arrested more than 56 people across the Washington metropolitan region during a November sting operation that targeted people with criminal histories illegally residing in the country.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations officers made the arrests in D.C., northern Virginia, and Maryland from Nov. 12 to 20. The most arrests, 14, were made in Fredericksburg, Virginia, followed by nine in Washington and six in each of Fairfax and Falls Church, Virginia.
Those taken into custody had been arrested earlier on criminal and civil charges. One Honduran arrested in Operation Eagle’s Shield had been convicted of sexual battery. Another person from El Salvador had been deported before and was identified by law enforcement as a member of the MS-13 transnational criminal organization. The same person had also been convicted three times for being drunk in public.
The 53 men and three women were from Australia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Libya, Mexico, and South Korea. The Department of Homeland Security agency said several were members of MS-13 and the 18th Street Gang, which includes mainly Mexicans and Central Americans.
“These individuals not only disregarded our nation’s immigration laws, but they have also committed serious crimes here in the U.S.,” ICE ERO Washington Field Office Director Russell Hott said in a statement.
Those arrested by ICE were not in local law enforcement custody at the time, which ICE said forced its officers to find high-risk people in public. After they are arrested, they will appear before a federal immigration judge who will decide whether they will be released or deported.
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