A member of the violent Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang who has a string of felony convictions was added yesterday to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s “Most Wanted” list of fugitives.
David Rivera, also known as Gerber Alfaro Bonilla and Herbert Alfaro, is being sought by ICE agents on charges of re-entering the United States after deportation. The violation carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
He also is wanted for questioning in several Los Angeles murders.
Michael J. Garcia, the Department of Homeland Security assistant secretary for ICE, said the search for Rivera is part of the agency’s national anti-gang initiative Operation Community Shield, which began in January and has resulted in the apprehensions of 200 MS-13 members nationwide.
“David Rivera is a violent and dangerous criminal who needs to be taken off the streets,” Mr. Garcia said. “One of our most important homeland security missions at ICE is ensuring public safety.”
In March, more than 100 MS-13 members were arrested as part of Operation Community Shield, including 25 in the Washington area and 10 in Baltimore. MS-13 members have been tied to murders, robberies, burglaries, carjackings, extortion, rapes and aggravated assaults, including at least seven killings in Virginia and Maryland.
With as many as 20,000 gang members active nationally and 5,000 in Virginia and Maryland operating in groups known as “cliques,” MS-13 gangs have targeted civilians, rival gang members and clique traitors, and have issued directives to kill police officers, authorities say.
Former Homeland Security Deputy Secretary James Loy told a Senate committee in February that MS-13 was an emerging national security threat, suggesting that terrorists may have targeted the gang’s illegal-alien smuggling operations to enter the country.
In the newest case, Rivera is wanted for questioning in Los Angeles in connection with several murders between 1999 and 2001. Los Angeles police also want to question Rivera about his suspected drug activity.
Mr. Garcia said Rivera’s criminal record includes convictions for lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, possession of a firearm by a felon, illegal possession of ammunition and repeated convictions for possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. He said Rivera went into hiding after his arrest on charges of raping a 12-year-old girl and witness intimidation in April 2001.
Rape charges against Rivera were dropped after the chief witness in the case was found slain.
Mr. Garcia said Operation Community Shield is designed to disrupt, dismantle and prosecute violent gang organizations by employing the full range of authorities and investigative tools available to ICE.
Under this initiative, he said, ICE is employing its broad immigration authorities — both criminal and administrative — against gang members.