Wednesday, May 2, 2012
BrocktonPost BROCKTON--During a two-day targeted enforcement operation in the Lawrence and Methuen area, officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's or ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested 13 convicted criminal aliens with 11 originally from the Dominican Republic. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston said in a prepared statement released Tuesday "Operation Threats Against the Community" began on April 26 and culminated in the 13 arrests. All 13 taken into custody had prior criminal convictions. Additionally, 11 had multiple criminal convictions. Many of the criminal aliens taken into custody had prior convictions for serious or violent offenses including: possession of an illegal firearm, assault, assault and battery on a police officer, possessing and selling dangerous drugs, and drunk driving. "When we focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens we get an immediate payback in our communities. Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers--along with our state and local law enforcement partners— there are 13 fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods in Massachusetts," said Vincent Archibeque, deputy field office director of ERO Boston. The arrests took place in Lawrence and Methuen and included members of the police departments in those communities. Members of the State Police, Essex County Sheriff's Office, Massachusetts Probation Service and ICE's Homeland Security Investigations assisted over 25 ERO officers with the operation. Of those arrested, all 13 were men and nationals of the following countries: one from Guatemala, one from Peru and eleven from the Dominican Republic. All were between 23 and 51 years old. All 13 were arrested administratively for being in violation of immigration law, and all are being held in ICE custody pending immigration removal proceedings or removal from the U.S. Some of those arrested during this operation include: A national of Guatemala who was convicted of two separate convictions for DUI; assault and battery on a police officer; and disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. A national of the Dominican Republic has been convicted of possession and distribution of cocaine and possession and distribution of marijuana. Another Dominican native had been convicted of DUI, possession and distribution of heroin, possession of cocaine, and assault. Another Dominican had been convicted of a firearm offense, possession and distribution of cocaine, and possession and distribution of marijuana. This enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's National Criminal Alien Program, which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens. The officers who conducted the operation received substantial assistance from ICE's Law Enforcement Support Center located in Williston, Vermont. ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security. ICE also prioritizes the arrest and removal of those who game the immigration system including immigration fugitives or those criminal aliens who have been previously deported and have illegally re-entered the country. Largely as a result of these initiatives, for 3 years in a row, ICE has removed more aliens than were removed in fiscal year 2008. Overall, in FY 2011 ICE removed 396,906 individuals nationwide — the largest number in the agency's history. Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors — an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008. This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence. CE achieved similar results with regard to other categories prioritized for removal. Ninety percent of all ICE's removals fell into a priority category and more than two-thirds of the other removals in 2011 were either recent border crossers or repeat immigration violators.