ICE Takes Criminals Off Streets of Omaha 1/4/19 01/06/19 10:45:46 PM
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Special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed a series of criminal arrest warrants in 2018 for various individuals connected to an alleged conspiracy related to the exploitation of illegal alien laborers for profit, fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering in Nebraska and Minnesota. (Photo by ICE)
ICE Takes Criminals Off Streets of Omaha
By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record
Shawn Neudauer knows his agency is not always popular.
As the Minnesota-based spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the upper Midwest, he also knows it provides a vital law enforcement service that protects and saves lives annually.
ICE is a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They often are the target of criticism for their immigration enforcement work. However, few people would argue we are better off with the person featured in the following narrative on the streets.
According to a recent ICE news release, Raul Granados-Rendon, a member of the Granados family sex trafficking ring based in Tenancingo, Tlaxcala, Mexico, was sentenced ... in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) to eight years’ imprisonment.
Granados-Rendon pled guilty in December 2017 to trafficking young Mexican women into the United States and forcing them into prostitution. As part of his sentence, the defendant was ordered to pay $1,305,393.80 in restitution to Jane Doe.
Among the details revealed at trial was that Granados-Rendon lured women to the United States with false promises and forced them into prostitution. The woman identified as “Jane Doe” was not as productive as other trafficking victims had been so Granados-Rendon dragged her into a bathroom by her hair and forced her head into a sink. He also helped transport another victim back to Mexico after his brother impregnated her and failed at his efforts to induce an abortion.
“Stopping human trafficking is a big priority for HSI,” Neudauer offered. HSI refers to Homeland Security Investigations, a part of ICE responsible for criminal investigations.
In Minnesota, the region’s home office, 36 defendants recently were found guilty of that crime.
“They sold Thai woman like cattle in the U.S.,” Neudauer said.
In different parts of the country, the duties for the various parts of Homeland Security may vary, but Neudauer stressed that ICE’s immigration aspects are simply one leg of immigration enforcement.
There also is U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The work involves everything from fighting terrorism to stopping the illegal movement of people and trade.
“We are federal police officers and criminal investigators,” Neudauer said. “Just a different focus than other federal law enforcement.”
In Nebraska, the work is even more focused, Neudauer emphasized.
“We are responsible for enforcing U.S. immigration and customs laws,” he said.
Those laws involve crimes like, illegal entry or people on student visas who don’t attend school.
When people violate the applicable laws, “They become subject to removal,” he said.
In addition to removal, ICE duties include apprehension and Neudauer emphasized those duties really don’t change from one presidential administration to another.
Parts of the agency have been around for almost 230 years and formerly was known as Immigration and Naturalization Services and/or the U.S Customs Service.
There is no shortage of targets for ICE, and those who commit document and benefit fraud is another area of concern. With those crimes, ICE works to help individuals whose identities are stolen.
“Their lives are turned upside down,” Neudauer said of the victims of such crimes.
ICE also investigates and arrests child predators.
“It could be someone who is online and soliciting naked photographs of children,” Neudauer said. “That’s an everyday thing for us ... We’ve broken up major child pornography rings.”
The agency often has undercover partners when it conducts such investigations.
Working with state, county and local authorities is a key for ICE in the Midwest.
“Partnerships are probably No. 1,” Neudauer said. “We have a lot of resources we can bring to the table.”
Such resources often are needed to complete major investigations. A recent case in Texas targeting white supremacist groups demonstrates that point.
The ICE office in Corpus Christi, Texas, recently spearheaded an investigation that lasted more than two years and recently led to the conviction of 16 gang members and associates for various crimes including RICO conspiracy, federal drug conspiracy and federal weapons violations. Those convicted received terms of imprisonment ranging from 120 to 292 months in federal prison.
The convicted gang members – all members or associates of either the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) or Tango Corpitos – were involved in a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in the illegal trafficking of controlled substances, extortion, murder, attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapons and other acts of violence. The organization operated throughout Texas.
The ABT is a powerful race-based state-wide organization operating both in and out of state and federal prisons throughout the State of Texas and the U.S.
That’s more than most local agencies could handle, and local governments benefit in other ways from partnering with ICE. The federal agency keeps detainees at the Douglas County Jail and pays for the housing of those who are detained.
According to a November report from the Douglas County Department of Corrections, ICE has paid the county nearly $200,000 in the fiscal year that began July 1.
ICE is, in short, a large law enforcement operation with a clear mission that, nonetheless, can become complicated. It is not an easy job.
“Most people misunderstand the mission of ICE,” Neudauer said, and acknowledged that mission involves enforcing some laws that are not popular with everyone. He realizes it can be extremely emotional work for everyone.
Neudauer suggested people read the transcripts from the federal trials that are coming out of the August operations in O’Neill, Nebraska, and in Minnesota. They show a pattern of immigrants being used and abused, he said. The transcripts of the trial are available as public record for anyone who wants to contact the federal courts.
That’s something he believes needs to be considered when people think about ICE, because there’s a lot more to the agency than what shows up in the headlines.
“If the country wants change, we can ask the Congress to make those changes,” Neudauer said. “Throwing rocks at ICE officers solves nothing.”