A coalition of local and federal law enforcement agencies led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement apprehended 34 people on illegal immigration charges over the course of three days, including 11 in Herndon, according to ICE representatives.
The operation, which began on Feb. 5 and dubbed "Quick Draw" by ICE special agents, was aimed at apprehending between 40 and 45 people with criminal records charged with being in the country illegally, according to ICE deputy special agent Mark McGraw of the Washington, D.C. field office. Those 40 to 45 people had been previously been convicted of a range of crimes including fraud, burglary, and gang and sexual offenses and were suspected to be residing in parts of Fairfax County, including Herndon, according to Ernestine Fobbs, press contact with ICE.
"We had a targeted list of individuals with a criminal background ... and they were the focus of the operation," said Fobbs.
The operation was "typical" in scale and took approximately two weeks of planning, McGrew said.
"We had so many different teams going around in pursuit of these people that if we didn't find them at one suspected location, we followed leads and moved on to the next," he said.
The 11 people charged with being in the country illegally were apprehended at a residence on the 1200 block of Alabama Drive and were not a part of the original list of suspects that ICE was pursuing. During the course of the investigation, those people were interviewed by law enforcement personnel, were found to be in the country illegally and as a result, were detained under administrative duty of ICE special agents, McGraw said.
The 34 people have either already been removed to their native countries or are being detained and facing deportation proceedings, he added.
They were originally from Bolivia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Iran, Laos, Mexico and Pakistan, according to Fobbs.
The operation was conducted by approximately 50 law enforcement personnel from ICE, the Herndon Police Department, Fairfax County Police Department, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the FBI, Federal Protective Service and the U.S. Coast Guard, Fobbs said.