- The Washington Times - Monday, April 2, 2012

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) agents, as part of what the agency says is its commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, has arrested more than 3,100 convicted criminal aliens, immigration fugitives and immigration violators in a six-day national “Cross Check” enforcement operation.

ICE Director John Morton said Monday the operation, which he described as the largest of its kind, involved the collaboration of more than 1,900 ICE officers and agents from all of the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations’ 24 field offices, assistance from ICE Homeland Security Investigations as well as coordination with federal, state and local law enforcement partners throughout the United States.

Arrests occurred in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Morton said those arrested included 2,834 persons with prior criminal convictions including at least 1,063 who had multiple convictions, including murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, kidnapping, assault, armed robbery, terroristic threats, drug trafficking and crimes against children.

Fifty of those arrested were identified as gang members and 149 were convicted sex offenders.

In addition to being convicted criminals, Mr. Morton 698 of those arrested were also immigration fugitives who had previously been ordered to leave the country but failed to depart. Additionally, 559 were illegal re-entrants who had been previously removed from the country.

Because of their serious criminal histories and prior immigration arrest records, he said 204 of those arrested during the enforcement action were presented to U.S attorneys for prosecution on a variety of charges including illegal re-entry after deportation, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

“The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE’s ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation’s immigration system,” said Mr. Morton. “Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers and agents in tracking down criminal aliens and fugitives, there are 3,168 fewer criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators in our neighborhoods across the country.”

Those arrested included:

• Carlington David Richards, 34, a Jamaican national and resident of Federal Way, Wash., who was an international fugitive from justice, wanted in Jamaica for murder.

• Jose Angel Duran-Ramos, 66, a national of Mexico and a resident of El Paso, Texas, who was convicted of murder on July 1984 and sentenced to 18 years in prison. A fugitive, he currently is in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

• Veasna Uy, 34, a national of Cambodia and resident of Long Beach, Calif., who was an immigration fugitive convicted in April 2005 of manslaughter, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He was placed in ICE custody pending removal from the United States.

Mr. Morton noted that ICE conducted the first successful Cross Check operation in December 2009 and has since conducted seven regional and two national Cross Check operations resulting in the arrest of more than 7,400 convicted criminal aliens. This operation is the third nationwide Cross Check operation in the agency’s history.

The first nationwide Cross Check operation occurred at the end of May 2011 and resulted in the arrest of 2,442 convicted criminal aliens. The last Cross Check operation in September 2011 resulted in the arrest of 2,901 convicted criminal aliens.

• Jerry Seper can be reached at jseper@washingtontimes.com.

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