US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Marshal Service arrested 45 international fugitives during a nationwide operation dubbed “Project Red II” that took place June 21-23.
The name “Project Red” stems from the fact that all of the fugitives arrested were subjects of Interpol red notices, which the Department of Justice describes as the “closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today.” A red notice provides information on the identification of fugitives charged with or convicted of serious crimes who have fled prosecution or sentencing.
The individuals arrested came from 22 countries and were wanted for a range of serious crimes, including homicide, rape, human trafficking, illegal gang activity, drug trafficking, embezzlement, extortion, and kidnapping.
Arrests included Emilio Eliseo Coreas Avelar, 23, of El Salvador, who was arrested on June 22 in Burke, Virginia, for aggravated homicide and gang participation. Sergei Levchenko, a 44 year old Russian who was the subject of an Interpol red notice from Russia for fraud, was arrested on June 21 in Miami.
“Identifying and arresting foreign fugitives is a global law enforcement priority and commands the full commitment of ICE resources,” said ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Executive Associate Director Tom Homan. “It is our duty to the American people and our partner countries to ensure that these individuals are removed from the shadows of our communities and returned to their home countries to face justice for their criminal acts.”
The operation was a joint effort between ICE and Interpol, the US Marshals Service, US Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and US Customs and Border Protection.
ICE’s strategic partnership with Interpol has grown significantly in recent years. A similar series of coordinated enforcement actions targeting Interpol Red notice fugitives occurred in June of 2015, leading to the arrest and removal of 27 high-priority individuals in nine states. Moreover, since October 2009, ICE has removed nearly 1,800 foreign fugitives from the United States.
“For more than a decade, Interpol Washington and ICE have partnered to share critical law enforcement investigative information to keep fugitives off our streets,” said Interpol Washington Director Geoffrey S. Shank.“The level of cooperation and partnership exemplified throughout Project Red II are a reflection of the achievements made possible when law enforcement agencies collaborate to ensure our nation and world are a safer place.”