ICE returns previously deported MS-13 gang member to El Salvador

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EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. federal agents hand-delivered Salvadoran authorities a previously deported member of the MS-13 gang on Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement officials announced Thursday.

Nelson Arturo Avalos, 32, a citizen of El Salvador, was wanted in his home country for being a member of the transnational criminal street organization known as Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13.

Agents with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in San Antonio flew Avalos to El Salvador and handed him over to Salvadoran authorities.

“We are dedicated to our mission of removing high-profile fugitives who threaten the safety of our communities,” said Jose Correa, field office director for ERO San Antonio. “This individual was wanted in their home country for being a member of (a) criminal organization responsible for high-level crimes.”

Avalos first entered the U.S. in August 2014, when immigration officers encountered him at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego. Immigration officials immediately ordered him removed from the U.S. back to El Salvador but he reentered the country illegally, ICE said in a news release.

ICE agents arrested Avalos on June 24 in Palo Alto, California. He again was processed for removal and his case transferred to San Antonio, where he was booked into Webb County Detention Center the following day.

Since Oct. 1, 2009, according to a news release, ERO has removed from the United States more than 3,700 foreign fugitives sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape, and murder. In Fiscal Year 2019, ICE removed or returned 267,000 undocumented immigrants, while ERO arrested 143,000 undocumented immigrants, most of whom — 86 percent — had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.

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