Dozens of Illegal Alien Sexual Predators Captured; Over 8,200 Total Since '03
by Jim Kouri, CPP
A Mexican national convicted of repeatedly sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl over a period of two years is among the 40 criminal aliens arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents here during the past four months as part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative targeting those who prey upon and sexually exploit children.
The most recent arrests occurred Tuesday as ICE agents took seven additional criminal alien sex offenders into custody. ICE was assisted in the operation by the Salinas, CA Police Department Sexual Assault Unit, the California Department of Corrections Parole Division, and the Monterey County Adult Probation Office.
Those arrested during Tuesday’s enforcement action include Antonio Cruz, a 43-year-old Mexican national who was convicted in Salinas in 1990 of sexually molesting a four-year-old child. Previous targets included Francisco Prado, 46, a legal permanent resident from Mexico who was taken into custody by ICE agents in May based upon his conviction for repeatedly molesting a nine-year-old girl.
This week’s arrests cap a joint effort involving ICE and its local enforcement partners to target foreign nationals in the Salinas area whose criminal convictions for child sex offenses make them potentially deportable from the United States.
One of the subjects arrested during the multi-agency operation is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for re-entering the United States after deportation, a felony charge that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Jesus Salgado-Lopez, 34, was arrested by ICE agents in June. The Mexican national has been deported five previous times.
The cases of the remaining sex offenders, the majority of whom are from Mexico, are being handled administratively. Some of the aliens, because of their illegal immigration status and prior criminal convictions, can be immediately removed from the United States. Others are legal permanent residents who are entitled to a deportation hearing before an immigration judge.
“Pedophiles pose a serious threat to the well-being of our children, our families, and our communities,” said Charles DeMore, special agent-in-charge for the ICE office of investigations in San Francisco, which oversees the agency’s Salinas office as well.
“We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to target those who prey on the children of this community. In the case of foreign nationals who commit predatory offenses, we can not only take them off of the streets, but we can seek to have them sent out of the country.”
“Operation Predator has been and continues to be a very worthwhile collaboration between federal and local law enforcement,” said Cassie McSorley, Deputy Chief of the Salinas Police Department.
“The arrest and removal of these 40 criminal alien sex offenders from Salinas since May of 2006 has made this community a safer place for it’s residents and their children. Working in conjunction with ICE has increased the Salinas Police Department’s resources with which we are able to deal with these types of criminals.”
Since ICE launched Operation Predator in July of 2003, the agency has arrested more than 8,200 sex offenders nationwide. More than 2,000 of those arrests were made by ICE agents in California.
Operation Predator is part of ICE’s expanded interior immigration enforcement strategy, which focuses on identifying and removing criminal aliens, immigration fugitives, and other immigration violators from the United States. The agency’s top priority is arresting and removing foreign nationals who pose a threat to public safety or national security.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.