Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) agents arrested a self-admitted MS-13 gang member February 16 after he was released from New York City custody with an active ICE detainer in place, ICE announced, noting, “The Salvadoran national has a criminal history in the US which includes reckless endangerment in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, and disorderly conduct.
ICE said, “Estivan Rafael Marques Velasquez was released from local custody February 16 after serving time for a criminal conviction of disorderly conduct. ICE filed the detainer May 3, 2016 with the Rikers Island Correctional facility where he was released with disregard for the active detainer. Marques entered the United States without being inspected by an immigration officer. On July 28, 2014, he was issued a Notice to Appear. In November 2015, Marques was ordered removed by an immigration judge.
ERO officers arrested Ramos-Flores in Queens, New York pursuant to a final order of removal and has been processed and is now in ERO detention pending removal.
"This man is by his own admission a member of a violent street gang and he was released back into the community. Honoring a detainer request is not about politics, it is about keeping New York citizens safe,” said Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ERO New York. “ICE continues to welcome changes to the city’s current policy which is creating a potentially unsafe environment for its residents. ICE remains steadfast in solidifying its relationship with local law enforcement in the interest of public safety and national security.”
In Fiscal Year 2016, ICE removed or returned 240,255 individuals. Of this total, 174,923 were apprehended while, or shortly after, attempting to illegally enter the United States. The remaining 65,332 were apprehended in the interior of the United States, and the vast majority were convicted criminals.
Homeland Security Today recently reported that out of the series of routine targeted enforcement operations across the nation by ICE which began February 6 that resulted in more than 680 arrests of convicted criminal aliens and other immigration enforcement priorities, 75 percent were criminal aliens convicted of crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges.
The in-depth report noted that the majority of undocumented aliens arrested in recent ERO operations are illegal criminal aliens.
Earlier, a federal grand jury indicted 10 alleged Northern California M-13 gang members for conspiring to commit extortion by force and conspiring to engage in drug trafficking following an intensive five-year probe by special agents with ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The indictments were the result of "a multi-year investigation into the activities of a violent Santa Cruz street gang known as Santa Cruz Salvatrucha Locos 13 (SCSL13)," ICE said. Court documents states “SCSL13 is a subset of the larger MS-13.” The government alleges the defendants are all either active members or recruits performing criminal tasks on behalf of SCSL13.
According to the indictment, seven of the defendants conspired to extort drug dealers while the other three defendants conspired to engage in trafficking methamphetamine.
The defendants charged with extortion are: Velarmino Escobar-Ayala, aka Meduza; Tomas Rivera, aka Profugo; Ismael Alvarenga-Rivera, aka Casper; Willfredo Edgardo-Ayala, aka Chino; Jose David Abrego-Galdamez, aka Largo; Melvin Lopez, aka Sharky; and Alexander Martinez-Flores, aka Pocar.
"Specifically," ICE said, "the indictment alleges the defendants conspired to obtain property from drug dealers in Santa Cruz by threatening violence against the dealers and other persons close to them. Further, the indictment alleges the defendants planned to engage in the extortion by threatening force, violence, and fear to obtain money they had demanded."
The indictment alleges the three remaining defendants: Gerber Morales, aka Choco; Emilio Escobar-Albarnga, aka Diablo; and Josue Alcedis Escobar-Cerritos, aka Penguino, were engaged in a drug trafficking conspiracy. According to court documents, from March 2015 until the present, the three defendants conspired to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.