Trump Administration Keeps its Promise: Begins Removing Violent Gang Members, Criminals, and Predators from American Communities
This month, President Trump and his Administration took decisive action to fulfill the President’s promise to keep our communities safe.
Just yesterday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the arrests of nearly 200 individuals in Southern California. These arrests arise out of a five-day operation targeting at-large criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants, and immigration fugitives. Almost 90 percent of those arrested had prior criminal convictions—including convictions for domestic violence, battery, sex crimes, manslaughter, assault, arson, and cruelty to a child.
Last week, ICE announced that in the 100 days since President Trump signed his Executive Orders on immigration enforcement, the agency has arrested roughly 30,000 convicted criminal aliens whose offenses range from homicide and assault, to sexual abuse and drug-related activity.
ICE noted that these arrests include:
- The February 16th arrest in New York City of Salvadoran national, Estivan Rafael Marques Velasquez. An MS-13 gang member, Velasquez’s criminal history in the United States includes reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon, and disorderly conduct.
- The March 9th arrest in DeKalb, Georgia of Mexican citizen, Jose Mercedes Meza-Ignacio, who was wanted on criminal charges for child molestation.
- The April 10th arrest in Dallas, Texas, of Juan Antonio Melchor Molina, who was the subject of a 2011 murder warrant issued in Mexico.
- The April 13th arrest in Denver, Colorado, of one of ICE’s “Most Wanted Fugitives,” Honduran citizen, Jose Victor Bonilla-Melendez. Bonilla-Melendez’s criminal history includes felony convictions for assault causing serious bodily injury, sexual assault, and unlawful re-entry after deportation.
- The April 26th arrest in Houston, Texas, of a Salvadoran MS-13 gang member, William Magana-Contreras, who was wanted for aggravated homicide in his home country.
Additionally, earlier this month, ICE detailed the results of its six-week nationwide gang apprehension operation, which resulted in the arrest of 384 illegal immigrants, as well as 61 foreign nationals voluntarily admitted into the country. The arrests of these 445 foreign nationals include those arrested for homicide- or sexual crime-related charges. These arrests included:
- The March 27th arrest – carried out by local Phoenix officials – of a Banda Los Dioes gang member, who was wanted for murder in Honduras. This gang member is a citizen of Honduras and was unlawfully present in the United States.
- The March 29th arrest – carried out by local Baltimore officials and Montgomery County Police – of a MS-13 member based upon a murder warrant.
- The April 5th arrest – carried out by local Kansas City officials and the Kansas City Police Department – of a MS-13 gang member. At the time of processing, the MS-13 member was a suspect for a prior homicide in Kansas City, Missouri.
- The April 18th arrest – carried out by local Los Angeles officials assisted the Los Angeles County California Sheriff’s Department – of a Barrio 13 gang member for murder. The gang member had previously been deported from the United States.
- The April 20th arrest – carried out by local Baltimore officials and the Prince George County, Maryland Police Department – of an MS-13 associate for attempted murder. The MS-13 associate was unlawfully present in the United States.
- The May 2nd arrest – carried out by local Long Island officials and the Nassau County, New York Police Department – of three MS-13 members for attempted murder, in violation of New York state law. The three MS-13 members are citizens of El Salvador and two were unlawfully present in the United States with the third MS-13 member pending immigration benefits.
- The April 20th arrest – carried out by local Newark officials – of an MS-13 member, who was extradited from Guatemala and charged with murder
Additional Information from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:
Earlier this month, a Guatemalan man illegally residing in the country was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for two counts of producing child pornography. According to court documents, Edwin Velasquez-Curuchiche, 40, befriended a Tennessee family that lived near him. ICE notes that:
[O]n September 23, 2015, Curuchiche snuck into the family’s home during the night and recorded himself sexually molesting the 6-year-old girl while she slept. Again, on October 1, 2015, Curuchiche snuck into the home and recorded additional videos of him sexually molesting the child as she slept. In late October 2015, the 6-year-old child awoke during the night and went to her parent’s bedroom crying that someone had been touching her while she slept. One of her parents checked her bedroom and finding nothing, they assumed the child was imagining things. On the evening of October 29, 2015, the family returned to their home after a trip to the store. After entering the home, the daughter went to her bedroom to get a toy. Curuchiche was hiding under the bed and tried to grab her by the arm and quiet her by telling her to play a game on a cell phone, which he had previously given to her. The girl ran to her parents and the father found Curuchiche hiding in his daughter’s bedroom closet, where he held him until police arrived and took him into custody. Court documents also show Curuchiche was apprehended in June 2013 when he unlawfully entered the United States. He subsequently failed to appear for an immigration hearing and was living in the U.S. unlawfully when he committed this offense.
To read the full release, visit ICE.gov.