- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2006

Nine illegal aliens detained last year after a traffic stop in Spotsylvania County, Va., were deported over a span of nine months in what federal officials said is an example of the immigration system working properly.

“We are committed to working to enforce the immigration laws of the United States,” said Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “The arrest and removal of these individuals is a testament that the process works.”

Virginia State Police found the aliens April 12, riding in a van on Interstate 95, south of Fredericksburg, where a trooper stopped the vehicle for a traffic violation.

Police said they found 14 persons in the van, including a 10-month-old who was not properly secured. Twelve were illegal aliens.

Officials said they released one infant, who is a U.S. citizen. The infant’s mother and another woman were released with notices to appear in court. They are still awaiting a hearing.

“We know where they are,” Ms. Fobbs said.

Ms. Fobbs said the nine deported aliens — who came primarily from El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico — were removed from April through December. At least two had been deported and re-entered the U.S. before the April 12 incident, Ms. Fobbs said.

One alien also is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for a prior conviction, Ms. Fobbs said.

The driver of the van — Juvenal Martinez-Marin of Labelle, Fla. — was arrested and convicted in federal court of transporting illegal aliens.

Martinez-Marin pleaded not guilty to the charge, but a jury convicted him after co-defendant Cayetano Gomez-Morales testified against him.

Martinez-Marin was sentenced to 14 months in prison.

Ms. Fobbs said Martinez-Marin is a legal permanent resident of the United States but could be deported to his native Mexico after he serves his sentence.

Gomez-Morales, an illegal from Mexico, was deported last month.

The Spotsylvania County arrests were made a few days after federal authorities released 11 illegals who were found in a van by Fairfax County police during a traffic stop in Annandale.

In that case, ICE officials ordered the 11 Mexican nationals, three of whom are children, to show up for further immigration processing at the ICE agency in Northern Virginia.

None of the aliens showed up for the proceedings. Officials later located one. Police charged the driver with traffic violations and child endangerment in the case.

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