18 Arrested By ICE Agents In Human Smuggling Operation

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [Photo courtesy ICE]

WASHINGTON — A nationwide operation which concluded on Dec. 17, resulted in the arrest of 18 foreign nationals sought for their roles in known or suspected human rights violations or human smuggling and trafficking by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

The foreign nationals arrested during the operation all have outstanding removal orders and are subject to repatriation to their countries of origin. Eleven are known or suspected human rights violators and seven are affiliated with human smuggling or trafficking. Nine individuals are also criminal aliens in the United States with convictions for crimes including, but not limited to, human smuggling, human trafficking, negligent manslaughter and weapons offenses. The operation included three additional collateral arrests of those with final orders of removal.

Those arrested across the country included:

  • Seven foreign nationals from Central and South America implicated in numerous human rights violations against individuals, to include arbitrary detentions, referrals of prisoners to intelligence units involved in persecutory abuses and direct interrogations involving the mistreatment of civilians.
  • Three foreign nationals from Africa implicated in ethnic cleansing, abductions and sexual exploitation of women and children.
  • Seven foreign nationals who were arrested or convicted for smuggling or trafficking violations, including state charges involving the solicitation to commit smuggling, smuggling of human beings for profit or commercial purpose and trafficking a person for sexual servitude.

The ICE National Fugitive Operations Program, in coordination with the ICE Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center, and the ICE Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, worked with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco and Salt Lake City field offices to arrest these fugitives.

Since 2014, ICE successfully effectuated five No Safe Haven operations targeting known and suspected human rights violators. This year’s Operation No Safe Haven Plus lent support to additionally advance the agency’s ongoing commitment to locate fugitives both affiliated with human smuggling or trafficking and subject to final orders of removal.