U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested seven fugitives in Southern California this week as part of a nationwide sweep of suspects wanted for human rights violations. Charges range from forced sterilization to electric shock torture, officials said.
The captures in the Los Angeles area were part of the nationwide "Operation No Safe Haven II," which netted 50 arrests, ICE said. The agency announced the operation ended Thursday.
The fugitives captured across the county were sought for their roles in alleged human rights violations committed abroad before fleeing to the United States. ICE provided brief descriptions of the crimes for which the seven were arrested.
The SoCal arrests include someone from Central America who "victimized civilians in military captivity" and another person from Central America who turned over people to a regime with known human rights violations.
Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles, told KPCC the operation was hardly a surprise to the fugitives who were arrested.
"All these people were people who had received final orders of removal and removal proceedings," he said. “They’ve had their day in court, and they were ordered removed by an immigration judge."
Others captures nationwide include someone from Asia who performed false sterilizations and forced abortions and another from Yugoslavia who interrogated people for a group devoted to ethnic cleansing, the ICE press release said.
The operation arrested people in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and St. Paul.
The 50 arrests represent a substantial portion of the 296 people ICE said it has arrested since 2004.
Arnold said "Operation No Safe Haven II" left some fugitives free, for now: "I don’t believe we found everyone we were looking for, so we will continue to seek out those people who we were unable to locate during this operation.”
He said ICE is pursuing more than 1,800 leads, with human rights violators from 100 different countries
This post has been updated.