- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Federal agents have arrested 24 aliens in Maryland and the District as part of an operation targeting child-sex offenders whose convictions left them subject to deportation.

Nine men were arrested in Prince George’s County, eight in Montgomery County, two each in Frederick and Howard counties and one each in the District, Baltimore city and Baltimore County, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which conducted the operation.

ICE officials said yesterday the arrests were made between Aug. 5 and Tuesday.

“The criminal offenses are criminal offenses that they had already been convicted of or pled guilty to,” said Jamie Zuieback, a spokeswoman for ICE. “They will be placed in removal proceedings.”

Seven of the men arrested were illegal aliens, 16 held green cards and one had previously been ordered to leave the country. The men were from El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, South Africa, Jamaica, Liberia, Pakistan, South Korea, Guyana and India.

Among those arrested were a 23-year-old Salvadoran man convicted of sexually assaulting three 6-year-old children, and a 33-year-old Guatemalan father convicted of raping and sexually assaulting his 11-year-old child.

Ms. Zuieback said the arrests were part of an ongoing initiative called Operation Predator.

The initiative aims to protect children in the United States from criminal alien sex offenders, and prosecute Americans who travel overseas and commit child-sex offenses. It also promotes worldwide law-enforcement partnerships to combat Internet child pornographers, human traffickers and other predatory criminals, ICE officials said.

Authorities said ICE has arrested more than 3,700 child-sex predators nationwide, since the operation began in July 2003.

Ms. Zuieback said agents originally targeted 40 men in the Baltimore-Washington area. Three were located but not arrested, and one was determined to have left the country. Five remain at large, officials said.

Seven other men also were arrested. However, officials determined their offenses were committed against adults.

Jerry Seper contributed to this report.

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