NEWARK, NJ – In a significant development, the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Newark has successfully apprehended a Colombian fugitive, wanted in his home country to complete a substantial murder sentence. The arrest, which took place on December 27, 2023, has sparked a pressing question: How many more dangerous fugitives are at large within the United States?

The individual, sentenced to over 22 years in prison in 2011, had evaded Colombian authorities since failing to return from a three-day furlough in 2018. His capture in Newark underscores the ongoing challenges faced by U.S. law enforcement in tracking and apprehending foreign criminals who illegally enter the country.

ERO Newark Field Office Director John Tsoukaris stated, “This is clearly a case of an individual with a very dangerous criminal history who poses a threat to the community.” The arrest was a result of collaborative efforts, including assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection of New York/Newark, Office of Field Operations.

The fugitive’s history in the U.S. includes arrests by local law enforcement in New Jersey for simple assault and making terroristic threats, raising concerns about the screening and monitoring of individuals with criminal backgrounds.

In fiscal year 2022, ERO reported the arrest of 46,396 noncitizens with criminal histories, involving a staggering 198,498 associated charges and convictions. This data, while reflective of the agency’s commitment to public safety, also highlights a worrying aspect: the potential presence of numerous other dangerous individuals who have successfully avoided detection.

The question now is, how many more like this Colombian fugitive are living undetected within American communities? The numbers suggest that while significant progress is being made in apprehending these individuals, there remains a considerable gap in fully addressing this security concern.

As ERO continues its mission to protect U.S. communities and uphold immigration laws, the spotlight now turns to the strategies and resources needed to identify and apprehend fugitives who pose a threat to public safety. The recent Newark arrest not only represents a win for law enforcement but also a reminder of the ongoing challenges in maintaining national security in the face of complex global migration patterns.