SAN ANTONIO — Officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) removed a documented member of the transnational criminal gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) on Thursday to El Salvador where he is wanted for gang membership and illicit possession of drugs.
Melvin Antonio Delgado, 35, a citizen of El Salvador, was removed via an ICE Air Operations charter flight without incident. Once in El Salvador, ICE ERO officers transferred custody of Delgado to the Policia Nacional Civil (PNC) of El Salvador, which will pursue criminal charges against him.
On Feb. 26, 2019, authorities in El Salvador issued an arrest warrant for Delgado for his role in illicit possession of drugs. ERO San Antonio confirmed the warrant with ICE’s assistant attaché in El Salvador.
“The Delgado case shows how effective cooperation between U.S. and Salvadoran law enforcement authorities helps keep our communities safe from violent transnational gang members who try to find safe haven from their crimes in our country,” said Daniel Bible, field office director for ERO San Antonio. “Such cases emphasize the vital nature of ICE’s mission.”
Delgado was encountered Oct. 20, 2018, by immigration officials near Hidalgo, Texas, after he illegally crossed into the United States. Two days later, he was convicted in a Texas federal court for illegal re-entry and sentenced to serve two days in prison. On Oct. 27, 2018, he was transferred to ICE custody. And on Oct. 18, 2019, an immigration judge issued Delgado a final order of removal.
ICE ERO El Salvador and its Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) task force provided information that assisted in Delgado’s arrest.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 3,700 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. In fiscal year 2019, ICE removed or returned 267,000 aliens. ERO arrested 143,000 aliens, more than 86 percent of whom had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.
ICE is focused on removing public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.