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286 arrested in I.C.E. criminal alien sweep

December 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
It's being called the largest operation targeting criminal aliens in the history of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. During the three-day sweep, 286 foreign nationals with criminal records were arrested in California.

More than 80 percent of the suspects had prior convictions for serious or violent crimes. There were also 30 convicted sex offenders. At least 100 of the criminal aliens have already been deported while the rest face deportation.

"Of the 286 individuals whom we have taken into custody, more than 200 had prior convictions for serious and violent criminal offenses like crimes involving rape and armed robbery," said John Morton of the I.C.E.

More than 400 agents and officers from I.C.E., the U.S. Marshals Service, as well as several other state and local agencies were involved in the special operation which ended on Thursday.

"It was shocking to me, but I knew it was possible because they told me that some of the offenses I committed were deportable," said Tubosun Ayoade, who was arrested during the sweep.

Fifty-one-year-old Ayaode of Nigeria explained that the assault on his wife was because he was angry that she took the children, and he also said that he struggled with his mental health.

"I think they should consider that I was sick emotionally," added Ayaode.

Ayoade was convicted of multiple crimes including indecent exposure. But instead of being deported, he lived under the radar for 4 years, until his arrest this week.

"We have made a clear and focused decision to take the worst of the worst of criminal aliens and lock them up," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Curtis Kin.

I.C.E. has help from local law enforcement. In a program called Operation Secure Communities, local jails instantly sent fingerprint data to I.C.E. for every individual who is booked, which closes a gap that has allowed so many deportable offenders to go free.

"We are going to prosecute you, put you in federal prison, and then we are going to deport you," emphasized Morton.

Northern California had the most arrests with a total of 119. The Los Angeles area was next with 96, followed by San Diego and Imperial counties.

The suspects came from more than 30 different nations including Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


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