ICE agents arrest MS-13 gang member on Top 100 list, plus Brazilian wanted in 2015 massacre

(The Center Square) – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested two violent criminals this week wanted in El Salvador and Brazil. They include an MS-13 gang member on El Salvador’s Top 100 list and a Brazilian military officer involved in a 2015 massacre.

The MS-13 gang member was previously deported and recently illegally entered the U.S. It’s unknown how long the Brazilian has been in the U.S.

On Aug. 11, U.S. Immigration & Custom Enforcement’s Enforcement & Removal Operations (ERO)-New Orleans division agents apprehended an MS-13 gang member on El Salvador’s Top 100 Most Wanted list.

Juan Carlos Portillo, 29, a fugitive from El Salvador, was wanted 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 his MS-13 name Pirana, ICE says. A warrant was issued for his arrest in El Salvador on March 11, 2014.

On Dec. 7, 2022, Border Patrol agents arrested Portillo near Hidalgo, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley. They then processed him for expedited removal and ERO Harlingen agents removed him to El Salvador on Dec. 23.

However, at “an unknown date at an unknown place, Portillo illegally reentered the United States without having been admitted or paroled by an immigration officer,” ICE said – until he was caught by ERO-New Orleans agents last week.

On July 5, agents working at ERO New Orleans’ Birmingham, Alabama, suboffice received information from ERO San Salvador through a Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement initiative that Portillo may be residing in Columbiana, Alabama.

On Aug. 11, agents from that office arrested Portillo in Chelsea, Alabama. Upon further investigation, they learned that since May 5, 2011, Portillo was a subject of interest for aggravated homicide and gang affiliation in El Salvador. He remains in ICE custody pending his removal from the United States.

“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,” ERO New Orleans Field Office Director Mellissa Harper said. “By apprehending and removing dangerous individuals like Portillo who are part of transnational criminal organizations, ERO officers are making our communities safer.”

On Aug. 14, ICE ERO Boston agents arrested a former Brazilian military police officer in Rye, New Hampshire, who was convicted of 11 murders in Brazil and sentenced to over 200 years in prison. He played a key role in what is known as the “Curio Massacre,” which occurred in the Curio neighborhood of Fortaleza, Brazil, in 2015.

Antonio Jose De Abreu Vidal Filho, 29, was the subject of an active Interpol Red Notice. On the murder counts and additional charges of attempted murder and physical and mental torture, he was sentenced to over 275 years in prison by a criminal court last month.

“The apprehension of this very dangerous foreign fugitive is an outstanding example of the professionalism and expertise of the officers of ERO Boston,” ERO Boston Field Office Director Todd Lyons said. “We are proud to have taken this notorious criminal, convicted of participating in multiple heinous murders in Brazil, off our streets.”

ERO Boston agents arrested him without incident. He remains in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

In fiscal 2022, ERO agents arrested 46,396 noncitizens with criminal histories, including 198,498 associated charges and convictions for 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.

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