RICHMOND, Va. -- Nearly 90 illegal immigrants who have committed crimes or ignored orders to leave the country were arrested in a two-part sweep in Virginia and the nation's capitol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Wednesday.
Eighty-seven criminal or fugitive illegal immigrants were arrested during a three-day sweep in June and a four-day operation that ended with four arrests Wednesday.
Of those arrested, 75 had been convicted for a variety of crimes, including 28 who had committed Level 1 crimes that include murder, rape and kidnapping. At least one arrest involved a member of the notorious MS-13 gang. The other 12 had been ordered to leave the country but did not.
"Those who come to our country illegally and commit crimes should be on notice," said Henry Lucero, director for ICE's Washington office of enforcement and removal operations. "We will root you out, you will be prosecuted for your crimes and we will ultimately send you home."
The U.S. Marshals Service assisted with the arrests, 57 of which were made in northern Virginia.
At least six of those arrested will face further prosecution on federal charges. Those already ordered out of the country will be immediately deported, while the others will face removal proceedings.
"Removing criminal aliens and preventing them from being released back into our community is one of our highest priorities," Lucero said.
Last year, ICE removed a record 380,000 illegal immigrants from the country, including 136,000 who had been convicted of crimes.