ICE operation nets two in region

A federal law enforcement operation that targeted “notable threats to public safety” has resulted in dozens of arrests including two people rounded up in the northern Shenandoah Valley.

Agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations Washington Field Office concluded Operation Eagle’s Shield last week that focused on Virginia and Washington, D.C. Agents arrested 132 people on criminal and civil violations, according to a media release from the Department of Homeland Security.

A breakdown of the arrests provided by the department Wednesday showed that agents made one arrest in Shenandoah County and another in Warren County. Most arrests occurred in the counties of Fairfax, Chesterfield and Prince William and in Washington, D.C. Agents also made arrests in Waynesboro, Roanoke and Augusta County.

ICE Public Affairs Officer Justine Whelan said Thursday she could not provide the names of the individuals arrested in Shenandoah or Warren County, their home addresses or specific charges they face. Whelan said only that the individuals arrested in the two counties face charges of driving under the influence and one has a robbery conviction. The agency would not disclose in which court the department filed charges.

The Washington field office targeted and arrested violent offenders, gang members, sex offenders, fugitives from justice and anyone else deemed to pose a significant threat to public safety, from July 9-20, according to information from the department. Agents arrested members of several “notoriously violent transnational criminal organizations such as MS-13 and 18th Street gangs.” Field Office Director Russell Hott has said that the agency set out to find and detain “known, criminal aliens who are hiding and operating in the neighborhoods we call home.” The arrestees included nationals from Bolivia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Philippines, South Africa and Sudan.

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office assisted in the operation.

In collaboration with U.S. prosecutors, ICE plans to pursue criminal charges against 37 of the people arrested during the operation for federal offenses such as re-entry after removal, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and unlawful possession of a firearm. Those people not being criminally prosecuted will be processed for removal from the country. Anyone with outstanding orders of removal, or who returned to the United States illegally are subject to immediate removal. The ERO Washington Field Office has already removed nine of the aliens arrested during Operation Eagle’s Shield from the United States, according to the media release.