Government Agency News ICE breaking news
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — On Aug. 11, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) New Orleans apprehended an MS-13 gang member on El Salvador’s Top 100 Most Wanted list.
Juan Carlos Portillo, 29, an illegally present foreign fugitive, was wanted in El Salvador for aggravated kidnapping, attempted aggravated homicide, aggravated extortion, terrorist organization, deprivation of liberty and aggravated homicide.
Portillo is also known as Juan Alberto Zamora-Zamora, Jose Adalberto Lopez-Lopez, and the MS-13 name Pirana. He is the subject of a warrant issued in El Salvador on March 11, 2014.
On Dec. 7, 2022, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested Portillo near Hidalgo, Texas, and issued him an expedited removal order. ERO Harlingen removed Portillo to El Salvador on Dec. 23.
On an unknown date at an unknown place, Portillo illegally reentered the United States without having been admitted or paroled by an immigration officer.
“This MS-13 gang member blatantly ignored laws both in his home country and here in the United States and this arrest sends a message that we will not allow our communities to be safe havens for violent criminals,” said ERO New Orleans Field Office Director Mellissa Harper. “By apprehending and removing dangerous individuals like Portillo who are part of transnational criminal organizations, ERO officers are making our communities safer.”
On July 5, 2023, ERO New Orleans’ Birmingham suboffice received information from ERO San Salvador under the Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement initiative that Portillo may be residing in Columbiana.
On Aug. 11, officials from that office arrested Portillo in Chelsea. Further investigation revealed that since May 5, 2011, Portillo was a subject of interest for aggravated homicide and gang affiliation in El Salvador. He remains in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody pending his removal from the United States.
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.
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