ICE agents make an arrest during the September 2011 Cross Check operation

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency conducted a six-day crackdown in late March, arresting 3,168 illegal immigrants in all 50 states. The operation — called “Cross Check” — targeted the most serious criminal offenders and “egregious immigration law violators,” said ICE officials.

It was the third such enforcement action. The first was carried out in May 2011 and the second in September 2011. In all, Cross Check sweeps have led to the arrest of more than 7,400 immigrants nationwide. This time around, nine arrests were made in Santa Barbara County. Details on those taken into custody are provided below.

“The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE’s ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation’s immigration system,” said ICE Director John Morton in a prepared statement. “Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers and agents in tracking down criminal aliens and fugitives, there are 3,168 fewer criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators in our neighborhoods across the country.”

More than 1,900 ICE agents from 24 field offices participated in this year’s Cross Check. They were assisted by the Office of Homeland Security as well as state and local law enforcement agencies. Neither the Santa Barbara Police Department nor the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office were involved in the effort, however.

Here are a few stats on the results of ICE’s 2012 Cross Check:

— Agents arrested 2,834 individuals with prior criminal convictions, including 1,063 who had multiple criminal convictions. Fifty were gang members, and 149 were sex offenders.

— Of those arrested, 1,477 had felony convictions including murder, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, drug trafficking, etcetera

— In addition to being convicted criminals, 698 of those placed in custody were immigration fugitives who had been ordered to leave the country but failed to depart; 559 were illegal re-entrants who had been previously removed from the country.

— At least 200 of those arrested were presented to U.S attorneys for prosecution on a variety of charges including illegal re-entry after deportation, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

And here are details on seven of the nine Santa Barbara County Cross Check arrestees. (ICE declined to provide their names pending a full Freedom of Information Act request.)

— A 44-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested in Santa Maria on March 24. In 2003 he was convicted of DUI and driving with a suspended license. In February 2012 he was again convicted of DUI and driving with a suspended license. He was deported from the U.S. in 2003 but illegally re-entered the country. He was removed to Mexico earlier this month.

— A 35-year-old El Salvadoran citizen was arrested in Santa Barbara on March 24. In 2005 he was convicted of transportation or sales of a narcotic controlled substance. He had been ordered back to El Salvador in 2000 but never left the country. He remains in ICE custody pending deportation.

— A 35-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested in Santa Barbara on March 26. He was convicted in 2003 of DUI and ordered removed from the U.S., but he never left the country. He was recently deported to Mexico.

— A 42-year-old Mexican citizen was arrested in Carpinteria on March 26. In 2008 he was convicted of entering a dwelling without permission. In 2004 he was ordered out of the U.S., but he failed to leave the country. He has been deported to Mexico.

— A 45-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested on March 26 in Santa Barbara. In 1993 he was convicted of felony spouse abuse. He was ordered removed from the United States in 2003, but he never left. He was recently deported to Mexico.

— A 44-year-old citizen of Mexico was arrested on March 28 in Santa Maria. In 2006 he was convicted of DUI, and in 2011 he was convicted of DUI and hit-and-run. He was deported to Mexico in 2006 but illegally re-entered the U.S. He has been deported back Mexico.

— A 50-year-old citizen of Sri Lanka was arrested in Santa Maria on March 29. He was convicted of felony theft in 2004 and ordered to leave the country, but he never did. He remains in ICE custody pending removal to Sri Lanka.


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