U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 36 fugitives during concurrent nationwide operations this week â€“ Operation Safe Nation and Operation No Safe Haven III. Of those arrested, 17 were sought because they may pose a threat to public safety or national security, including individuals suspected of providing material support to a terrorist organization and 19 were sought for their known or suspected roles in human rights violations overseas.
During the operations that concluded Wednesday, the ICE National Fugitive Operations Program arrested the fugitives in coordination with the ICE Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center, the ICE Counterterrorism Section and ICE field offices in the following cities: Atlanta; Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco and St. Paul, Minnesota. This concurrent nationwide operation was the first of its kind. It focused on the apprehension of fugitives known or suspected to pose a danger to public safety or national security and those known or suspected of human rights violations.
â€œThrough the vigorous use of our unique investigative authorities, ICE will continue to ensure that our great nation provides no safe haven for human rights violators and other national security threats,â€ said ICE Director Sarah R. SaldaÃ±a. â€œTo those hiding in the shadows: we will find you, arrest you and bring you to justice.â€
The foreign nationals arrested during these operations all have outstanding removal orders and are subject to repatriation to their countries of origin. Of the 36 individuals arrested, four are also criminal aliens, convicted in the U.S. for crimes such as drug trafficking, bribery, domestic violence and driving under the influence.
Those arrested during Operation Safe Nation included:
- An individual from East Africa previously under investigation for his suspected association with individuals of national security interest.Â The individual has an extensive criminal history, including violent and drug trafficking offenses;
- Three individuals from South Asia who were known or suspected to have provided material support to a terrorist organization whose members have engaged in assassinations and used explosives and firearms to endanger people and destroy property;
- An individual from North Africa who was suspected of having ties to international terrorism and was convicted of a crime in connection with an attempt to import a controlled substance into the United States.
Those arrested during No Safe Haven III for known or suspected human rights violations included:
- Three individuals from China who assisted in forced sterilizations and forced abortions upon victim patients or incarcerated religious practitioners who were later persecuted;
- An individual from the Eastern Europe who admitted to participating in military attacks upon civilians in which victims were raped and murdered;
- A senior military officer from South America working in conjunction with the stateâ€™s intelligence service unit implicated with a clandestine death squad.
ICE is committed to rooting out those who pose a threat to national security or public safety, including known or suspected human rights violators who seek a safe haven in the U.S. ICE investigates those who try to evade justice by seeking shelter in the U.S., including individuals suspected of providing material support to a terrorist organization, espionage, or export violations, and those who are known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, and the use or recruitment of child soldiers.
ICE Fugitive Operations Teams conduct investigative enforcement activities every day to identify, locate and arrest those who are removable from the U.S. and present a heightened threat to public safety and national security.Â The efforts of these teams result in hundreds of arrests per week, both from daily operational activities and organized operations such as the operations announced today.
The ICE National Criminal Analysis and Targeting Center (NCATC) provided critical investigative support for this operation, including criminal and intelligence analysis from a variety of sources. The NCATC provides comprehensive analytical support to aid the at-large enforcement efforts of all ICE components.
ICE credits the success of this operation to the combined efforts of the U.S. National Central Bureau-Interpol Washington which provided critical support with deconfliction, foreign criminal history, and identity confirmation information.
â€œInterpolâ€™s investigative tools provide U.S. law enforcement with a suite of databases that provide real-time biometric, travel document, and criminal background information,â€ according to Interpol Washington Director Geoffrey S. Shank. â€œThese operations exemplify what can be achieved when U.S. and international law enforcement agencies have immediate access to information.â€
The FBI, ICE liaison to the National Joint Terrorism Task Force, U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Marshals Service, whose deputies and personnel provided significant investigative assistance in meeting these common public safety and national security goals with ICE, were also key to the success of these operations.
Members of the public who have information about those presenting a national security threat and/or suspected of engaging in human rights abuses are urged to contact ICE by calling the toll-free ICE tip line at 1-866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also complete ICEâ€™s online tip form.
Part II: Seeking justice for victims around the world
Part III: To be released on Monday, Sept. 26.