NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On January 31, agents with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency arrested 37-year-old Javier Atlixqueno-Vaquero, a fugitive on their “most wanted” list, in New Brunswick.
Atlixqueno-Vaquero was reportedly on the #2 spot on the dubious list of undocumented immigrants with serious criminal convictions that the government hopes to remove from the country.
The Mexican citizen had reportedly been convicted of multiple felony charges, including sexually assaulting a minor.
Atlixqueno-Vaquero was also convicted of “felony sale of hallucinogen/narcotic controlled substance,” and “felony failure to appear,” according to the ICE release.
It’s not clear where his crimes occurred, but the most wanted list says his “last known location” was Connecticut.
Atlixqueno-Vaquero had been deported but managed to re-enter the United States, according to ICE.
“He was ordered removed by an immigration judge May 7, 2004 and was removed from the U.S. to Mexico May 19, 2004. Atlixqueno unlawfully re-entered the U.S. at an unknown date,” reads the official statement.
A news release from the agency said that Atlixqueno-Vaquero, who also goes by the names Josue Solis Lopez and William Baez-Figueroa, was “recently added” to the most wanted list, which is maintained by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) division.
“A convicted felon and one of our most wanted fugitives; Mr. Atlixqueno-Vaquero is a threat no more and is in custody awaiting removal from the United States. I commend the hard work and dedication of our officers,” said John Tsoukaris, Field Office Director for ERO Newark.
ICE spokesperson Alvin Phillips said that the arrest was made in the area of Easton Avenue and Courtlandt Street, which is located in the city’s Sixth Ward.
The official statement said that the arrest occurred after agents observed Atlixqueno-Vaquero “leaving his residence,” implying that he was living in the neighborhood just three blocks from the flagship campus of Rutgers University.
The agency credited their Newark-based “Fugitive Operations team,” part of ERO, with making the arrest, as well as ICE’s National Criminal Analysis and Targeting Center (NCATC) for providing “critical investigative support for this arrest, including criminal and intelligence analysis from a variety of sources.”
The arrest comes amid widespread fears that the city’s sizable immigrant community–including hundreds or thousands of whom may be undocumented–could face detention or deportation, even if they have a clean criminal record.
Those fears likely stem from Donald Trump’s ascent to the nation’s highest office, and concerns that the city government of Mayor James Cahill is not doing enough to protect otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants.
The arrest took place eleven days after Trump took over for US President Barack Obama. Trump had promised to deport record numbers of immigrants and to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
In recent raids taking place across the country, ICE has arrested and detained hundreds of undocumented immigrants, including many who have not been accused of committing crimes.
Just over a year earlier, ICE agents captured a young man living in New Brunswick who had not been charged with any crimes, later claiming that he was a “self-admitted” gang member.
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