Washington, DC - Forty-five foreign fugitives – all subjects of active Interpol notices for individuals wanted in connection with criminal activity – were arrested across the United States this week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and the U.S. Marshals Service. Arrests occurred nationwide during the three-day enforcement operation June 21 to 23.
“Project Red II” targeted individuals with Interpol red notices and others wanted for serious crimes within Interpol member countries. A red notice serves as an international wanted notice and provides information on the identification of fugitives charged with or convicted of serious crimes who have fled prosecution or the serving of their sentence.
The 45 individuals arrested during Project Red II were wanted for crimes in 22 different countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Sixteen were wanted on various fraud charges, seven were wanted for homicide and four for illegal gang activity. Other alleged crimes included drug trafficking, rape, embezzlement, extortion and kidnapping.
“Identifying and arresting foreign fugitives is a global law enforcement priority and commands the full commitment of ICE resources,” said ERO Executive Associate Director Tom Homan. “It is our duty to the American people and our partner countries to ensure that these individuals are removed from the shadows of our communities and returned to their home countries to face justice for their criminal acts.”
- Emilio Eliseo Coreas Avelar, 23, of El Salvador, arrested June 22 in Burke, Virginia, subject of an Interpol red notice from El Salvador for aggravated homicide and gang participation.
- Marleny Rodriguez-De Lovo, 43, of El Salvador, arrested June 21 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, subject of an Interpol red notice from El Salvador for participating in an organized criminal gang in furtherance of illegal criminal activity.
- Pothuvilage Ushan Bernard Karunaratne, 38, of Sri Lanka, arrested June 21 in Fort Worth, Texas, subject of an Interpol red notice from Sri Lanka for fraud.
- Sergei Levchenko, 44, of Russia, arrested June 21 in Miami, subject of an Interpol red notice from Russia for fraud.
- Jose Angel Vanegas, 36, of El Salvador, arrested June 23 in Houston, Texas, subject of an Interpol red notice from El Salvador for aggravated homicide and gang participation.
Two remaining at-large fugitives were added to ICE’s list of most wanted fugitives: David Ernesto Perez-Viales, 34, of Nicaragua, wanted on an Interpol red notice for aggravated rape and who was last seen in Miami, and Andrew Andreyevich Vikhrev, 31, of Belarus, wanted on an Interpol red notice for illegal drug trafficking and who was last seen in Brooklyn, New York.
ICE leadership credited the combined efforts of Interpol Washington, the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“For more than a decade, Interpol Washington and ICE have partnered to share critical law enforcement investigative information to keep fugitives off our streets,” said Interpol Washington Director Geoffrey S. Shank. “The level of cooperation and partnership exemplified throughout Project Red II are a reflection of the achievements made possible when law enforcement agencies collaborate to ensure our nation and world are a safer place.”
The ICE National Criminal Analysis and Targeting Center (NCATC) provided critical investigative support for this operation, including criminal and intelligence analysis of information obtained from proprietary sources, open-source, and bilateral/multilateral exchanges with entities throughout the United States and partners represented at Europol. The NCATC provides comprehensive analytical support to aid the at-large enforcement and removal efforts of all ICE components.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed 1,789 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Office of International Operations, foreign consular offices in the United States, Interpol and Europol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the United States.
ERO coordinates the removal of criminals, foreign fugitives and others ordered deported. Last year alone, ERO removed 235,413 individuals from the United States.