Atlanta, Georgia - A Salvadoran MS-13 gang member and felon unlawfully present in the United States was removed from the United States Friday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Juan Otero-Navarro, 36, entered ERO custody Oct. 23 following his release from federal prison and was transferred to the Stewart County Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. Otero was convicted in September 2015 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on a felony charge of illegally reentering the United States after a prior removal in May 2011. Otero was also convicted on felony forgery charges in Fairfax County, Virginia, in February 2011.
According to Salvadoran officials, Otero is currently wanted in his home country for identification fraud, resisting arrest and membership in an illicit group due to his MS-13 affiliation.
ERO Atlanta officers transferred Otero from the Stewart County Detention Center Thursday to Alexandria, Louisiana, where Otero was then removed Friday via an ICE Air charter flight to San Salvador, El Salvador. Upon arrival, Otero was transferred into Salvadoran custody.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 1,789 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Office of International Operations, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the United States. Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE tip line at 1 (866) 347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form.
ERO coordinates the removal of criminals, foreign fugitives and others ordered deported. Last year alone, ERO removed 235,413 individuals from the United States. ICE is focused on smart and effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes its resources based on those who pose the biggest threat to national security, border security and public safety. ICE’s civil enforcement efforts are based on priorities set by the Secretary of Homeland Security in November 2014