July 26, 2007

Sweep nets fugitives and criminal aliens

A Freehold man was among a group of 131 people arrested in a recent sweep by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Luis Freddy Castaneda-Farfan, 30, a Peruvian national and current resident of Freehold, convicted in 1998 of second degree robbery, was among those arrested within the past three weeks by the ICE Newark fugitive operations teams including fugitive aliens, known criminals and other immigration violators.

ICE fugitive operations teams fanned out across the state from June 4 to June 22, to identify, locate and arrest priority fugitive and criminal aliens based on investigative leads. ICE operates four fugitive operations teams in New Jersey.

The subjects became fugitives when they defied removal orders from a federal immigration judge and failed to leave the United States, according to a press release from ICE, which said all of the fugitives had the opportunity for full due process under the law.

The fugitives arrested will remain in ICE custody pending their final removal from the country. The other individuals arrested have been placed in immigration removal proceedings.

Also among those arrested are:

Cristhian Gerardo Chincilla Mata, 28, a Costa Rican national and current resident of Lodi, wanted in Costa Rica for sexual assault on a minor.

Johnny Augustine Jiminez, 27, an Ecuadorian national and current resident of East Windsor, with multiple criminal convictions, including receiving stolen property, burglary, defiant trespass, aggravated assault with weapon, domestic violence and criminal trespass.

Ricardo Anthony Rondon, 31, a Dominican national and current resident of Kearny, convicted in 2000 of possession of drugs with intent to distribute, and convicted in 2002 of aggravated assault.

Enrique Guarin Estrella, 33, a Dominican national and current resident of New Brunswick, previously convicted in 2006 for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Pedro Nicolas Segura, a 40, an El Salvadorian national and current resident of Red Bank with multiple prior criminal convictions.

"Our officers continue to work hard to ensure that the United States does not become a safe haven for criminal aliens," said Field Office Director Scott Weber, who leads ICE's detention and removal efforts in New Jersey.

"We will continue to remove those illegal aliens who pose a threat to our community and who have no legal right to remain in this country. There can be no doubt that our streets and communities are safer without these known criminal aliens," Weber said.

The number of people arrested by ICE fugitive operations teams nationally has increased significantly from year to year. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2006, fugitive operations teams arrested 15,467 nationwide.

Since the beginning of FY 2007 (October 2006), the teams are credited with the arrests of more than 21,600 individuals. Since June 2006, ICE in New Jersey has arrested more than 2,000 people with immigration violations.

The success of the fugitive operations teams in New Jersey and throughout the nation has resulted in the first decrease in fugitive aliens. As of June 1, according to the ICE Deportable Alien Control System, there were 632,189 fugitive aliens in the United States, which is 537 fewer fugitives than the 632,726 recorded on Oct. 1, 2006. Between September 2003 and September 2006, the fugitive alien population grew by an average of 5,682 fugitives per month or 68,184 new cases per year.

This reduction in the fugitive alien population is the result of the efforts of the National Fugitive Operations Program to aggressively target fugitive aliens, according to the press release. These efforts include the deployment of fugitive operations teams, and the establishment of a dedicated data and support center, the Fugitive Operations Support Center in Burlington, Vt.

The New Jersey operation is part of the nationwide interior immigration enforcement strategy announced in 2005. A critical element of that strategy is to identify, locate and remove criminal aliens, fugitives, and other immigration violators from the United States.

In fiscal year 2006, ICE increased the number of fugitive operations teams from 18 to more than 50 nationwide. By the end of 2007 there will be 72 fugitive operations teams in operation.

ICE was established in March 2003 as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE comprises of five integrated divisions that form a 21st-century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities, according to the press release.

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