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ERO San Antonio removes known Mexican drug cartel leader wanted in Mexico for organized crime

SAN ANTONIO — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) San Antonio removed an undocumented noncitizen wanted by authorities in Mexico for organized crime, money laundering and illegal possession of firearms. Deportation officers from ERO San Antonio and ERO Harlingen removed Oscar Arturo Arriola Marquez, 54, from the United States to Mexico on Nov. 1.

Arriola was the presumed leader of the Arriola Marquez cartel and was once one of the world’s most wanted fugitives.

“Individuals who commit crimes of this magnitude in their home countries will find no refuge in the United States,” said ERO San Antonio Interim Field Office Director Garrett Ripa. “We will not sit idly by and allow our communities to be overrun with criminals”

On Dec. 16, 2003, a federal indictment was filed against Arriola in the District of Colorado charging him with conspiracy to distribute controlled substance, attempt/conspiracy to import/export controlled substances and money laundering. Subsequently, an arrest warrant was issued.

On Feb. 2, 2006, authorities in Mexico arrested Arriola and placed him in Mexican custody pending extradition to the United States. On March 1, 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection paroled Arriola into the United States through El Paso for criminal proceedings and turned him over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

On April 13, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado convicted Arriola of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, conspiracy to import 5 kilograms or more of cocaine into the United States, and money laundering conspiracy and sentenced him to 270 months confinement.

On July 12, 2015, ERO Phoenix encountered Arriola at the Phoenix Federal Correctional Institution, determined he was subject to removal from the United States, and lodged an immigration detainer against him.

On Aug. 15, ERO San Antonio received custody of Arriola and issued him a notice to appear. On the same date, ERO San Antonio transferred Arriola to the T. Don Hutto Residential Center to await his immigration proceedings.

On Aug. 16, 2023, ERO San Antonio received confirmation from a foreign service national investigator that Arriola was the subject of an active foreign arrest warrant in Mexico.

On Oct. 16, an immigration judge ordered Arriola removed from the U.S. to Mexico. On Nov. 1, Arriola was removed to Mexico through Laredo, Texas, where Mexican authorities took custody of him without incident.

ERO conducts removals of individuals without a lawful basis to remain in the United States, including at the order of immigration judges with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is a separate entity from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case, determining if a noncitizen is subject to a final order of removal or eligible for certain forms of relief from removal.

As one of ICE’s three operational directorates, ERO is the principal federal law enforcement authority in charge of domestic immigration enforcement. ERO’s mission is to protect the homeland through the arrest and removal of those who undermine the safety of U.S. communities and the integrity of U.S. immigration laws, and its primary areas of focus are interior enforcement operations, management of the agency’s detained and non-detained populations, and repatriation of noncitizens who have received final orders of removal. ERO’s workforce consists of more than 7,700 law enforcement and non-law enforcement support personnel across 25 domestic field offices and 208 locations nationwide, 30 overseas postings, and multiple temporary duty travel assignments along the border.

Originally published at

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