31 illegal immigrants arrested in countywide ICE sweep

Federal authorities arrested 31 people, including nearly two dozen illegal immigrants, in San Diego County during an operation targeting criminal immigrants last week, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sixteen of the 31 individuals arrested were North County residents, according to ICE. The arrests took place in Chula Vista, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, La Mesa, Oceanside, San Diego, San Marcos and Vista.

The three-day operation, which ended Friday, was conducted by ICE as part of the agency’s efforts to prioritize the deportation of criminal illegal immigrants and illegal immigrants who have been deported before, officials said.

“(ICE) is committed to working hard to make our communities safer by arresting and removing convicted criminal aliens and those who blatantly ignore their deportation orders without regard for our nation’s laws,” said Robin Baker, field director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in San Diego.

Among those arrested was a 51-year-old Mexican man, whose name was not released, convicted of committing lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of 14, according to ICE. He is facing deportation, officials said.

Another man arrested during the operation was a 55-year-old Mexican man with a criminal history that includes domestic violence, drunken driving, theft and possession of a controlled substance, according to ICE. He was deported to Mexico last week, officials said.

The 25 men and six women arrested during the operation include foreign nationals from three countries; Mexico, Guatemala and Russia.

Of those arrested during the operation, 23 were illegal immigrants with prior criminal convictions whose crimes included sex crimes, domestic violence, embezzlement and possession of narcotics, officials said.

The group also included five immigration fugitives with outstanding orders of deportation and 18 previously deported illegal immigrants.

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Immigration crackdown results in 24 arrests

A three-day operation targeting illegal immigrants and fugitives resulted in two dozen arrests around Indianapolis.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 24 convicted criminal aliens during the sweep. ICE said 17 had prior convictions for crimes ranging from drug possession to resisting arrest, drunk driving and illegally entering the U.S. Three were ordered to leave the country but failed to comply. Three more were previously deported and came back to the U.S. illegally.

The arrests included 23 men and one woman from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela. The operation covered Indianapolis, Franklin and Plainfield.

“ERO is committed to making our communities safer by arresting and removing convicted criminal aliens and immigration fugitives,” said Ricardo Wong, field office director for ICE ERO in Chicago. “By targeting our efforts on these egregious offenders, we are improving public safety while making the best use of our resources.”

These arrests were coordinated with ICE’s National Fugitive Operations Program (NFOP). Top priority is given to cases involving aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety, including street gang members and child sex offenders.

ICE-ING ILLEGAL WEBSITES

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security division seized 70 websites that peddle imitation goods manufactured abroad, according to anagency release.

The 70 websites seized are part of Project Copy Cat, an iteration of Operation In Our Sites (IOS), and closely mimicked legitimate websites selling authentic merchandise and duped consumers into unknowingly buying counterfeit goods. Many of the websites so closely resembled the legitimate websites that it would be difficult for even the most discerning consumer to tell the difference.

The websites are now shut down and their domain names are in the custody of the federal government.

Agents from Colorado, Utah, New Jersey, and Texas accessed the websites and purchased a variety of imitation goods, including sports jerseys, jewelry, fitness DVDs, and baby carriers. They then turned the merchandise over to genuine manufacturers to verify whether the products were counterfeit.

ICE Director John Morton scored the raid a win for consumers and producers.

“This operation targeted criminals making a buck by trying to trick consumers into believing they were buying name brand products from legitimate websites when in fact they were buying counterfeits from illegal but sophisticated imposter sites located overseas,” he said in a statement. “The imposter sites were simply a fraud from start to finish and served no purpose other than to defraud and dupe unwary shoppers.”

The cyber raids fall under the jurisdiction of Operation In Our Sites (IOS). Since embattled Attorney General Eric Holder created the taskforce in 2010, IOS has seized about 770 domain names, 229 of which are now officially the property of the federal government.

ICE is most widely recognized as the lead agency in charge of deporting illegal immigrants.

Alleged porn distributor pleads not guilty in NJ

 A Ukrainian man accused of operating one of the most extensive child porn distribution networks ever prosecuted in the U.S. pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court.

A court-appointed attorney entered the plea on Maksym Shynkarenko’s behalf Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Newark. The Ukrainian government says he is innocent, and his mother says his arrest is a case of mistaken identity.

The 33-year-old from Kharkiv has been charged with 32 counts for allegedly operating Ukraine-based hardcore child porn sites with three co-conspirators who have not been named — two from the Ukraine and one from Russia — according to court documents.

Prosecutors say Shynkarenko sold access to the sites to clients worldwide, listing the charges under innocuous names to elude detection by credit card companies, but warning customers to lie and say their credit cards had been stolen if questioned by police.

He was extradited to the U.S. from Thailand this week. He was charged in New Jersey because the case began when agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement‘s investigative arm first discovered a website allegedly run by Shynkarenko on the computer of a New Jersey customer in 2005.

The U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, said 560 U.S.-based customers from 47 states have been convicted so far. Prosecutors said 10 to 50 customers a day were attempting to access sites allegedly run by Shynkarenko with names including “Illegal.CP,” ”The Sick Child Room,” ”Hottest Childporn Garden,” and “Pedo Heaven,” before they were shut down in 2008.

Shynkarenko was arrested in Thailand in 2009 while on vacation, and had been fighting extradition to the U.S. since.

Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Dikusarov told The Associated Press on Tuesday that local investigators had found no evidence of Shynkarenko committing a crime, and they would work to defend him.

Tetyana Cherenok, Shynkarenko’s mother and a 64-year-old retired engineer, told the AP this week that her son is innocent and had been mistaken for another man with the same first and last name.

The court-appointed federal public defender for Shynkarenko, Linda Foster, declined to comment on his behalf Wednesday. Shynkarenko, in shackles and wearing dark green prison scrubs, did not speaking during the brief proceeding. Foster did not request bail for him, and he remains in custody.

He could face up to life in prison if convicted on all counts.

Suspect in fatal hit-and-run may be illegal immigrant

Immigration authorities have put a hold on the man accused of fleeing the scene after fatally injuring a cyclist in Seattle last summer, an indication the agency believes the suspect is in this country illegally.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials lodged an “immigration detainer” against Erlin Garcia-Reyes, a native of Honduras who lives in Normandy Park.

The agency asks that Garcia-Reyes be placed in its custody if he is released from jail. A statement from the agency said the action could be a first step toward Garcia-Reyes’ deportation.

Garcia-Reyes was arrested Wednesday for investigation of felony hit-and-run in the July accident that killed Michael Wang in Seattle as he was riding home from work.

Illegal immigrant sex offender sentenced for third return to U.S.

An illegal immigrant who was deported on two occasions after he sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl in Montgomery County, only to return to the area, was sentenced to more than four years in prison as a dangerous criminal alien after being busted for drunk driving.

Dagoberto Tiznado, 33, will be deported for a third time once he finishes his time behind bars, officials said. Tiznado was sentenced in federal court in Maryland to 50 months in prison on a charge of illegally re-entering the United States as a convicted criminal alien.

Calvin McCormick, of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Maryland, said the prosecution of Tiznado was part of ICE’s effort to “target criminal aliens who put public safety at risk.”

Last month, an illegal immigrant in Prince George’s County who had been deported twice was charged with first-degree murder for a 1981 killing in Texas.

But anti-illegal immigration groups say the Tiznado case demonstrates the high costs and poor results of a porous U.S. border and ineffective immigration system.

“It’s just a revolving door,” said Brad Botwin, of Help Save Maryland.

In 1997, Tiznado, of El Salvador, was convicted in Montgomery County of fondling a 12-year-old girl in the laundry room of his apartment building, then taking her back to his room and trying to have sex with her, court documents said.

He was deported from the United States in 1998, but soon returned to Maryland. He was arrested by ICE agents in Ellicott City, Md. in 2002, and sentenced to nearly four years in prison for illegally re-entering the U.S. He was shipped back to El Salvador in 2005.

It’s unclear when he returned to Maryland, but in September 2011, he was pulled over for drunk driving in Ellicott City.

He had no license, no registration for the vehicle he was driving and failed sobriety tests, police said.

Tiznado’s true identity was discovered in the Howard County jail as part of the ICE criminal alien program. He was taken into ICE custody.

In jail, fingerprint evidence confirmed that he was a convicted sex offender who had twice been deported.