Dozens of immigrants, many with criminal records and two wanted on murder charges in Brazil, were arrested by federal authorities in New England during a five-day sweep, officials said Thursday.
A total of 58 people were arrested in the region, including several in Massachusetts, during the raid that ended on Wednesday, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement.
Those taken into custody included a 67-year-old Brazilian citizen who is wanted in that country for aggravated murder and was arrested in Lynn, and a 59-year-old Brazilian citizen who is also wanted in that country for murder and who was arrested in Putnam, Conn., according to the statement. The latter of those two slayings is alleged to have been committed “by casting a net over the victim and stabbing the victim 20 times,” according to ICE.
ICE did not include the genders or names of those arrested in Thursday’s statement, and did not immediately respond to messages seeking that information.
According to the agency, those apprehended during the sweep included 30 people who had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, 33 had criminal charges pending, 15 were previously released from local law enforcement custody, correctional facilities, or court custody with an active detainer.
Of those arrested, nine were referred to the appropriate US Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution, one was referred to US marshals for failing to register as a sex offender as required by federal law, nine were previously deported from the US and then returned illegally, and four had active Interpol “red notices,” which are requests to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. Interpol touts itself as “the world’s largest international police organization, with 194 member countries.”
A 41-year-old French citizen who had prior convictions for cocaine possession multiple instances of assault and battery was arrested in Brockton, officials said. The individual’s
criminal history includes arrests for kidnapping, assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and domestic violence, according to ICE.
In Windham, N.H., a 44-year-old Brazilian citizen was arrested after being wanted in Brazil for smuggling and embezzlement of guns. That person had assumed the identity of a US citizen, according to ICE.
A 41-year-old from Jamaica was arrested in Hyannis. That person had been convicted of possession of at least 28 grams of cocaine, according to federal authorities.
Investigators also arrested a 40-year-old from the Dominican Republic in Dorchester. That person had convictions for cocaine trafficking and money laundering, said ICE in its statement.
In a statement, the agency also criticized so-called sanctuary cities, specifically naming Boston.
Efforts by local politicians have shielded criminals “from immigration enforcement and created another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect,” said the agency.
According to the agency, ICE places detainers on people who have been arrested on local criminal charges and who could be deported. In past years, “most of these individuals would have turned over to ICE by local authorities upon their release from jail based on ICE detainers,” according to the agency.
ICE said sanctuary cities have complicated that process, as some communities “do not honor ICE detainers.” According to the organization, that means “these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat.”
“ICE thus has no alternative but to periodically conduct at-large arrests in local communities instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community,” said the agency in a statement.
Todd M. Lyons, the acting field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in Boston, hailed the work of immigration officials in the sweep.
“ICE officers in New England continue to enforce immigration laws as they have always done,” such as targeting people who have committed crimes, he said in the statement. “Despite unjustified criticism, our officers continue to work daily with professionalism and integrity to enforce immigration law and protect our communities from criminal aliens.”
While some progressives have called for ICE to be abolished, an August poll found that only a quarter of Democrats support eliminating the agency.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh has touted Boston as a sanctuary city for unauthorized immigrants. However, a lawsuit filed last month accused Boston police of labeling Central American teenagers and young men as gang members or gang associates, often with little cause, and entering that information into a database that can be accessed by federal immigration authorities.
Over the summer, a change in policy meant immigration officials in Massachusetts could once again arrest undocumented immigrants who show up for appointments at government offices, marking the reversal of a February directive that had halted the practice, according to a court filing.
Maria Cramer of Globe staff contributed to this report. Material from the Associated press and previous Globe coverage was used in this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.