ICE Arrests 16 Illegal Immigrant Drug Criminals

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Trevor Schakohl Legal Reporter
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Los Angeles arrested 16 convicted drug criminals in the U.S. illegally in about two weeks, the agency announced Monday.

The 16 individuals had been convicted of fentanyl, methamphetamine or heroin trafficking or possession crimes, ICE’s press release said, identifying two as 41-year-old Mexican nationals with previous deportation histories. The arrests happened during a Jan. 23 to Feb. 6 nationwide enforcement effort. (RELATED: The Biden Admin Is Making It Easier For Illegal Immigrants To Roam The US Without Tracking Them)

ICE’s ERO Los Angeles Field Office is responsible for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

“These arrests represent criminal noncitizens who have a blatant disregard for our criminal justice system while exploiting our communities for their own profits.” said ERO Los Angeles Field Office Director Thomas Giles, according to the release. “ERO Los Angeles will aggressively pursue, arrest and hold accountable noncitizens that flaunt our laws and engage in illicit drug activity.”

Authorities seized huge quantities of fentanyl at the U.S.-Mexico border on multiple occasions in 2022, and an estimated 71,238 people died of synthetic opioid overdoses nationwide the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In his Tuesday State of the Union Address, President Joe Biden called for “a major surge to stop fentanyl production, sale, and trafficking, with more drug detection machines to inspect cargo and stop pills and powder at the border.”

ICE data shows ERO performed about 72,177 removals during fiscal year 2022, a huge decrease compared to the roughly 185,884 conducted in fiscal year 2020, when former President Donald Trump was still in office.

An ICE Northwest Region representative told the DCNF the arrest cases in the nationwide effort were unrelated.

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