Thursday, May 1, 2008

Report: 14 arrested by federal agents (Athens Daily Review)

Report: 14 arrested by federal agents
Department of Homeland Security has not released names of those taken into custody

Published: May 01, 2008 09:34 am
By Rich Flowers

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were joined by Athens Police Department officers at several stops in the city Tuesday in a sweep that resulted in the arrest of 14 fugitive aliens.

ICE Public Information Officer Carl Rusnok said Wednesday, the sweep was part of a crackdown on illegal immigrants in East Texas that resulted in 136 total arrests. Rusnok said the roundup targeted aliens who had received final orders of deportation from federal immigration judges.

“We were looking for specific individuals in several East Texas communities including Athens,” Rusnok said.

Agents also made arrests in Malakoff, Tyler, Longview, Kilgore, Big Sandy, Lindale, Grand Saline, Mineola, Van, Flint, Gilmer, Pittsburg, Canton, Wills Point and Yantis.

Agents began the regional crackdown on Sunday and concluded operations Wednesday, Rusnok said.

Agents began the Athens sweep just after 6 a.m. Tuesday and made several stops in the morning and afternoon hours. APD officers Ron McCurry, Lorenzo Carranza and Jason Bosher assisted federal officers in the local effort.

“The fugitive operations program over the last four days was to arrest aliens who had been ordered by a federal immigration judge for deportation,” Rusnok said.

Rusnok said some of the latest arrests involved offenders who had not been targeted in the sweep, but were discovered in the course of the roundup. He also said the operation was not related to a recent raid at the Pilgrim’s Pride factory in Mt. Pleasant in which 45 aliens were arrested.

By the end of 2007, there were 75 NFOP teams deployed in various locations around the United States, including one in Dallas. The plan is to have 100 working in the US, bringing down the number of fugitive aliens.

The cases are being prosecuted through the United States Attorney’s office. Calls to the US Attorney concerning the Athens arrests were not returned Wednesday.

Rusnek said ICE does not release the names of aliens who are arrested during the crackdowns

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