Border Patrol agents continuing to apprehend violent criminals, gang members

(The Center Square) – Border Patrol agents are continuing to apprehend violent criminals and gang members who are nearly all military age foreign nationals who entered the country illegally.

In about the past month, highlighted arrests of foreign nationals entering the country are some of the most violent criminals, including known gang members coming from Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Venezuela, Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens notes.

Recent arrests made in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection El Paso Sector, which includes two west Texas counties and all of New Mexico, include individuals with a long list of violent crimes. Combined, violent criminal histories of those arrested include child molestation, rape of a child, sexual assault of a child, aggravated assault, rape, murder, manufacture/trafficking of firearms and ammunition and theft, among others.

Many have tattoos of images of “La Santa Muerte,” or the “Saint of Death,” and other images of violence, death and gang affiliations. Those who worship Santa Muerte believe she brings “Santísima Muerte,” or the “holiest death,” and are reportedly involved in ritualistic killings, according to the FBI, The Center Square has reported. One recent arrest of an alleged Mexican gang assassin in El Paso was known “for her extreme brutality such as dismembering bodies, removing hearts, and placing the hearts in front of ‘Sante Muerte’ altars and statues.”

In El Paso County, Ysleta Station Border Patrol agents arrested a Honduran national with an active warrant from Honduras for attempted homicide who “will be prosecuted, removed, and extradited to serve jail time for his criminal act,” Owens said.

Ysleta Station agents also arrested a Honduran male, who admitted to a 2013 arrest for raping a 14-year- old minor in Honduras.

They also arrested a Venezuelan with no prior criminal history but who had tattoos associated with the Venezuelan gang, Tren de Aragua. “Watch out for this gang. It is the most powerful in Venezuela, known for murder, drug trafficking, sex crimes, extortion, and other violent acts,” Owens said.

Border Patrol agents in El Paso recently arrested a Colombian national who had tattoos related to a Gulf cartel gang, Clan del Golfo, who had photos of people being tortured on it.

They also arrested three Colombian nationals with violent criminal histories including firearms trafficking, aggravated homicide, kidnapping minors, aggravated assault, and theft, and one who was a prison fugitive.

Another Colombian national was also arrested after illegally entering who pleaded guilty to possessing, manufacturing, trafficking of illegal firearms and/or ammunition on two separate occasions and served 68 months in prison in Colombia.

El Paso Border Patrol agents also arrested a Venezuelan man illegally in the country with a warrant out of Fort Worth for theft of a firearm and tampering with evidence. They also arrested three gang-affiliated men from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic whose criminal histories include aggravated robbery, firearms trafficking, endangering the welfare of a child, and felony manufacture/distribution of heroin/cocaine.

In New Mexico, Deming Station Border Patrol agents arrested a Mexican national with prior convictions for first degree murder, battery, stalking, and probation violations. “This is what is known as an aggravated felon. He does not belong in the U.S., let alone in your communities,” Owens said.

Las Cruces Station Border Patrol agents raided a stash house, arresting 10 illegal foreign nationals, including two principals and one Paisas gang member. The U.S. Attorney for the district of New Mexico will be prosecuting the principals for conspiracy to transport and the Paisas gang member for felony re-entry into the U.S., Owens said.

Border Patrol agents in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, and Kingsville, Texas, arrested two child predators with felony convictions for sexual assault/battery of a victim 12 years old and sexual assault of a child.

Under the current administration, the greatest number of gang members were arrested in fiscal 2022 of 751, the majority of whom were affiliated with the gang, MS-13. In fiscal 2024, 195 gang members have been apprehended, according to CBP, the majority of whom are affiliated with “other” gangs, followed by Paisas, according to CBP data last updated April 4.

Owens puts the gang affiliated arrest number at 215 this fiscal year; the top three gang affiliated arrests are from Paisas (47), MS-13 (30), and Surenos (26).

A record number of criminals were arrested at the border in fiscal 2023, including those with outstanding wants or warrants, The Center Square has reported. So far, in fiscal 2024, CBP agents have arrested 14,949 criminal noncitizens, 4,804 in the National Crime Information Center database and 404 with outstanding warrants, as of Feb. 4, according to CBP data. Among them, 112 criminals with prior convictions for sex offenses had been arrested through February, according to Owens.

“Only convictions and consequences will keep them locked up,” he says.

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