Operation Secure Streets Targets DUI Convictions


Officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) returned to Long Island last week to conduct Operation Secure Streets, a six-day roundup that netted 25 arrests, mostly in Suffolk County and including one man identified as a member of the El Salvadoran-based MS-13 gang.

The raid’s official name has to do with the fact that nearly all of the arrests were of individuals who had been previously convicted of violations concerning the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

ICE officials said that of the 25 men arrested, 24 have been previously convicted of such offenses. The other individual, officials added, was arrested for immigration violations. Each was taken into custody and is currently being detained pending the completion of removal proceedings.

Only two arrests were made in Nassau County, one in Glen Cove and the other in Hempstead. In Hempstead, ICE officials arrested a 35-year-old Honduran man with a prior assault conviction. Officials said the individual will remain in ICE custody pending removal to Honduras. ICE officials gave the following details of other arrests, all in Suffolk County:

• A 41-year-old, previously removed Guatemalan man convicted of driving while intoxicated. He was arrested in Patchogue on Nov. 4 and will remain in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

• A 40-year-old, previously removed Brazilian man convicted of driving while intoxicated. He was arrested in Ronkonkoma on Nov. 5 and will remain in ICE custody pending removal to Brazil.

• A 31-year-old citizen of Guatemala with a prior convictions of criminal trespass in the second degree and driving while ability impaired. He was arrested in Riverhead on Nov. 6 and will remain in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

• A 40-year-old Salvadoran national with a prior conviction of driving while intoxicated, identified as a MS-13 gang member. He was arrested in Shirley on Nov.7 and will remain in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

Criminal histories of those arrested, ICE officials added, included aggravated DWI, second-degree assault, second-degree criminal trespass, driving while ability impaired, and driving while intoxicated. The arrestees, they said, include nationals from Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Ukraine. In Suffolk County, ERO deportation officers made arrests in Amityville, Bayshore, Calverton, Central Islip, Commack, Coram, Hampton Bays, Huntington, Medford, Moriches, Patchogue, Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma, Riverhead, Sag Harbor, Shirley, West Babylon and Wheatley Heights.

ICE officials said that the foreign nationals arrested will be processed administratively for removal from the United States. The arrestees who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country. The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.

“This operation targeted those who were convicted of driving under the influence, some with children in the car, solidifying ICE’s commitment to remove public safety threats from our communities,” said Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ERO New York. “With the incredibly high number of vehicle accidents and related deaths as a result of DUIs, ICE will continue to arrest and remove these criminal aliens for the safety of our city’s residents.”

So far this year, arrests of undocumented immigrants increased by 43 percent. Those numbers include what ICE officials term as “non-criminal immigration violators,” individuals who are in the country illegally, but who have not committed any misdemeanors or felonies during that time. ICE officials said that such arrests total more than 28,000, a threefold increase over last year.

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