Immigration Officials Arrest 175 Fugitives in Sweep of Southern California

Federal authorities swept through Southern California this week and arrested 175 people for deportation, including a Mexican man wanted for murder and a convicted child molester who already had been deported once, authorities announced Friday.

The sweep was part of a massive operation aimed at capturing immigration fugitives nationwide. Teams operating in Southern California have made more than 1,600 arrests in the past nine months, said officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This week agents concentrated their efforts in Orange County. Those arrested included 27 people who have criminal records and are in the country illegally and 26 fugitives who ignored deportation orders by judges, ICE said.

"Foreign nationals who violate our laws and commit crime against our citizens should be on notice that there are serious consequences for their actions," said Jim Hayes, field office director for ICE detention and removal operations in Los Angeles.

Among those arrested were 35-year-old Almarez Reveles Gonzalo in Baldwin Park on Thursday. Hours later, he was turned over to Mexican authorities who allege he ambushed and killed his 74-year-old uncle in Zacatecas nine years ago.

Jamie Pea-Martinez, 30, was arrested at his Santa Ana home. Pea-Martinez had a prior conviction for child molestation and had been deported previously, ICE officials said.

Some of those arrested could be charged with illegally re-entering the United States. They could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the felony.

Most of those arrested this week were Mexican nationals but some came from other countries, including India, Kenya and the Philippines, authorities said. They were subject to immediate deportation, and more than half of those arrested have already been sent out of the country, ICE said.