ICE Arrests Drug Dealer Despite Philadelphia Officials’ Refusal To Cooperate

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PHILADELPHIA – On Feb. 12, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers arrested an illegally present Jamaican man, who was released from Philadelphia custody, despite the presence of an ICE detainer filed with local authorities.

On May 24, 2009, Travas Anthony Vassell, 30, was admitted into the United States in New York on a non-immigrant visitor with authorization to remain in the United States until Nov. 23, 2009; However, Vassell failed to lawfully depart the United States as required.

On March 14, 2018, the Philadelphia Police Department arrested Vassell for the criminal offenses of possession with intent to distribute narcotics, possession of narcotics, carrying a firearm without a license, and carrying a firearm in the city of Philadelphia. ICE lodged an immigration detainer with Philadelphia Police Department that same day.

On April 2, 2018, the Philadelphia prison system released him into the community despite the active ICE detainer.

On Oct. 31, 2018, the Court of Common Pleas in the County of Philadelphia convicted Vassell of possession with intent to distribute narcotics, possession of narcotics, carrying a firearm without a license, and carrying a firearm in the city of Philadelphia and sentenced him to six months to 23 months incarceration and a period of three years of probation.

ERO Philadelphia arrested Vassell and he remains in ICE custody pending immigration proceedings before a federal immigration judge.

“Unfortunately, this is another example of how Philadelphia policies limiting cooperation with ICE result in significant public safety concerns,” said Simona L. Flores-Lund. “ERO deportation officers are committed to enforcing the immigration laws set forth by our legislators, although the City of Philadelphia releases inmates with active ICE detainers back into their community, the women and men of ICE will remain undeterred in its responsibility to find those in violation of immigration law and ultimately have them removed from the country.”

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