- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 7, 2004

U.S. Border Patrol agents in Arizona arrested three convicted child molesters in separate incidents last week, using an automated fingerprint system to identify the captured illegal aliens as sexual predators who previously had been convicted and deported.

Ismael Hernandez, 49, Faustino Tierrablanca, 39, and Cipriano Pimental, 31, all Mexican nationals, were arrested by agents assigned to the Border Patrol stations in Douglas, Ariz., and Naco, Ariz.

Border Patrol spokesman Rob Daniels said Hernandez was arrested Wednesday as he tried to enter the United States illegally about a half-mile west of Douglas. His identity was verified by the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), developed by the FBI, which showed a 1984 conviction in New York for sexual abuse and acting in a manner to injure a child.

Mr. Daniels said Hernandez had been sentenced to a year in jail and later deported.

He said Border Patrol agents encountered Tierrablanca on Thursday about 7 miles east of Naco, where he also had sought to enter the United States illegally. His identity also was confirmed through IAFIS at the Naco Border Patrol station as having been arrested for sexual assault on a child in 1996 in Texas and sentenced to three years in prison.

Mr. Daniels said Tierrablanca was deported to Mexico in 1998.

Pimental also was arrested on Thursday by Border Patrol agents in a separate incident about 15 miles west of Naco, when he admitted to being in the United States illegally, Mr. Daniels said, adding that the Mexican national was taken to the Naco station, where his identity and criminal status was confirmed by IAFIS.

Mr. Daniels said Pimental was convicted in 2003 in Illinois of “sexual abuse of a minor” and removed that year to Mexico after serving several months in an Illinois jail.

The three men are currently in federal custody pending removal proceedings. Pimental and Tierrablanca are facing prosecution for re-entry of an aggravated felon, while Hernandez is facing prosecution for entry without inspection.

Since the beginning of the fiscal year in October, Mr. Daniels said the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector, which includes Douglas and Naco, has arrested 9,559 illegal aliens with criminal records, 143 of which were for sexually related charges.

The Border Patrol is a part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security.

IAFIS was developed by the FBI in 1999. It allows agents to capture fingerprint images that are compared against an FBI database of stored fingerprints. It searches fingerprints to determine whether an arrest record exists, and maintains a criminal arrest record history for each person.

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