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HOUSTON — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Houston, with assistance from ERO El Salvador and the Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force, removed a foreign fugitive Aug. 9 to his home country of El Salvador, where he is wanted for membership in the brutal transnational criminal street gang Mara Salvatrucha-13, commonly called MS-13.

Jose Erick Ramos Cruz, a 45-year-old unlawfully present Salvadoran fugitive, was flown from Alexandria, Louisiana, on a flight coordinated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Air Operations Unit to the Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport in San Salvador, El Salvador. Upon arrival, he was turned over to officials from El Salvador’s Civilian National Police.

Ramos illegally entered the United States on Feb. 5, 2016, near Hidalgo, Texas, and was immediately apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol. On Feb. 7, 2016, Border Patrol officials released Ramos on an order of recognizance pending disposition of his immigration proceedings.

On April 26, 2016, Ramos failed to report for an immigration hearing, and he was ordered removed from the United States in absentia by an immigration judge with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review.

On May 17, 2023, ERO Houston fugitive operations officers arrested Ramos in Houston. He was taken into ICE custody and detained at the Montgomery Processing Center in Conroe, Texas, until his removal on Aug. 9.

“Transnational gang members and other foreign fugitives looking to flee prosecution in another country will find no safe haven in Southeast Texas,” said ERO Houston acting Field Office Director Gabriel Martinez. “ERO Houston fugitive operations officers are uniquely trained to locate and apprehend these individuals who present a threat to public safety and repatriate them to their country of origin where they will stand trial for their alleged crimes.”

Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE Tip Line at 866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form.

For more news and information on how the ICE ERO Houston field office carries out its immigration enforcement mission in Southeast Texas, follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, @EROHouston.

The SAFE Program is a fugitive enforcement and information sharing partnership that was created in 2012 to better use subject information derived from local in-country investigative resources and leads to locate, apprehend, detain, and remove individuals residing in the U.S. illegally who were subject to foreign arrest warrants. The SAFE Program operates under the respective host nation’s AAR, which constructs a SAFE task force composed of relevant foreign law enforcement agencies, immigration authorities, attorneys general, and national identification repositories – as well as other regional, national, state, and local government agencies. The managing AAR ensures that each task force member complies with SAFE policies and standards consistent with the program’s standard operating procedures. Once established, the AAR-led SAFE task force generates new leads and vets existing SAFE fugitive referrals for ERO action.

As one of ICE’s three operational directorates, ERO is the principal federal law enforcement authority in charge of domestic immigration enforcement. ERO’s mission is to protect the homeland through the arrest and removal of those who undermine the safety of U.S. communities and the integrity of U.S. immigration laws, and its primary areas of focus are interior enforcement operations, management of the agency’s detained and non-detained populations, and repatriation of noncitizens who have received final orders of removal. ERO’s workforce consists of more than 7,700 law enforcement and non-law enforcement support personnel across 25 domestic field offices and 208 locations nationwide, 30 overseas postings, and multiple temporary duty travel assignments along the border.

ICE breaking news ERO Houston removes unlawfully present MS-13 gang member to El Salvador Government Agency News