SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Salt Lake City has referred 208 foreign nationals for criminal prosecution to date in fiscal year 2023.
These referrals include foreign nationals who have been previously removed from the United States and have three or more misdemeanors or a felony conviction, or a previous removal with an aggravated felony conviction, which include murder, rape, fraud or sexual abuse of a minor. Those cases amenable to federal criminal prosecution for immigration offenses may be presented to the U.S. attorney’s office.
“Career criminals who have been previously deported are often drawn back to Utah from the border,” said ERO Salt Lake City Field Office Director Michael Bernacke. “Our partnership with the U.S. attorney’s office in prosecuting criminal immigration offenses discourages border crossings of those who would do Utah residents harm.”
Those referred include the following:
- A 46-year-old Mexican national with an extensive criminal record who was arrested in Salt Lake City Sept. 1. Records indicate the criminal was convicted by the Orange County District Court in Orange County, Florida, for possession of cocaine in October 1996. In April 1997, the Orange County District Court convicted the foreign national of larceny. In May 1997, the same court convicted the noncitizen of possession of cocaine. In April 1998, the Dallas County District Court in Dallas, Texas, convicted the foreign national of burglary of a building. In September 1998, the Dallas County District Court convicted the subject of theft. In February 1999, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas convicted the subject of reentry of a previously removed person; they were subsequently removed. In June 2005, the U.S. District Court convicted the foreign national of violating their probation. In December 2006, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas convicted the noncitizen of reentry of a previously removed alien; they were subsequently removed. In September 2009, the Pima County District Court in Pima County, Arizona, convicted the noncitizen of burglary. In December 2019, the Third District Court in Salt Lake County charged the foreign national with retail theft. In 2020, the U.S. District Court of Utah convicted the foreign national of reentry of a previously removed person; they were subsequently removed. The foreign national will be removed after they are returned to ICE custody.
- A 33-year-old Mexican national who was arrested in Salt Lake City on July 17, 2023, was referred for federal prosecution in August 2023. The Third District Court in Salt Lake County convicted the foreign national of aggravated assault and indicted them for reentry of a previously removed person. The case is ongoing. A third indictment was initiated in September 2023 for two counts of forgery and identity fraud. The foreign national will be removed after they are returned to ICE custody.
- A 62-year-old Mexican national was arrested in Salt Lake City in April 2023 by local authorities and was charged by the Third District Court in Salt Lake County with communications fraud in June 2023. They were referred for federal prosecution and convicted in July 2023 by the U.S. District Court of Utah for reentry of a previously removed alien. The foreign national will remain in ICE custody pending removal from the United States.
Regardless of nationality, ICE makes custody determinations on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with U.S. law and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy, considering the circumstances of each case. ICE officers make decisions on associated enforcement actions and apply prosecutorial discretion in a responsible manner, informed by their experience as law enforcement professionals and in a way that best protects the communities we serve.
ICE Air Operations facilitates the transfer and removal of noncitizens via commercial airlines and chartered flights in support of ICE field offices and other U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiatives. In fiscal year 2022, ERO conducted 72,177 removals to more than 150 countries worldwide.
Noncitizens placed into removal proceedings receive their legal due process from federal immigration judges in the immigration courts, which are administered by the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice and is separate from the Department of Homeland Security and ICE. Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case. ERO officers carry out the removal decisions made by the federal immigration judges.
In fiscal year 2022, ERO arrested 46,396 noncitizens with criminal histories. This group had 198,498 associated charges and convictions, including 21,531 assault offenses; 8,164 sex and sexual assault offenses; 5,554 weapons offenses; 1,501 homicide-related offenses; and 1,114 kidnapping offenses.
Members of the public can report crime and suspicious activity by calling 866-347-2423 or completing the online tip form. Follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, @EROSaltlakeCity, to learn more about ERO Salt Lake City’s missions and operations.