85 Arrested In Colorado Immigration Sweep

ICE: Arrestees Are Immigration Fugitives, Convicted Criminals

Federal authorities said they arrested 85 immigrants who were fugitives or had prior criminal convictions during a four-day sweep last week in Colorado and part of Wyoming.

"These surge operations, and our daily targeting of aliens with criminal convictions, are some of the many tools that ICE uses to effectively reduce crime at the street level in communities throughout the United States," said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in a Monday news release.

During the dragnet, ICE agents and local police located and arrested 82 immigrants across Colorado and three in Wyoming, the release said.

ICE officials said 78 immigrants had prior convictions for serious or violent crimes, including sexual assault, possessing and selling dangerous drugs, drunken driving, assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In addition, 18 of the individuals arrested were immigration fugitives with outstanding orders of deportation who had failed to leave the country.

Twenty-one of those arrested had been previously deported, ICE said. A conviction for felony re-entry carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

As examples of those arrested, ICE cited:

  • A 40-year-old Mexico-born man who is a U.S. permanent resident and who was convicted Nov. 5 in Denver District Court for sexual contact without consent. The man was sentenced to five years supervised sex-offender probation. He was also convicted in 1993 in Los Angeles for possessing cocaine and was sentenced to 16 months in prison. He was taken into ICE custody in Denver during the sweep and ordered to appear before a federal immigration judge.

  • A 42-year-old man from Mexico who is a U.S. permanent resident and who has convictions for illegally possessing or selling a switchblade knife, domestic violence, drunken driving and possession of cocaine for sale. He was arrested by ICE in Thornton and faces removal proceedings.

    Foreign nationals detained during the operation who are not being criminally prosecuted will be processed administratively for removal from the United States, ICE said.

    Those who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country, ICE said. The remaining immigrants in ICE custody await a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.

    Of those arrested, 73 were men and 12 were women. They range in age from 34 to 63.

    They represent the following nine countries: El Salvador 7, Poland 1, Dominican Republic 1, Guatemala 2, Mexico 66, Uganda 1, South Korea 1, Honduras 5, and Mongolia 1.