An MS13 gang member on El Salvador's Top 100 Most Wanted list was recently captured by authorities in Chelsea after already being deported last year.
Juan Carlos Portillo, 29, a foreign fugitive in the U.S. illegally, was wanted in El Salvador for aggravated kidnapping, attempted aggravated homicide, aggravated extortion, terrorist organization, deprivation of liberty and aggravated homicide.
According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Portillo, also known as Juan Alberto Zamora-Zamora, Jose Adalberto Lopez-Lopez and his MS-13 moniker, Pirana, is the subject of a warrant issued in El Salvador on March 11, 2014.
On Dec. 7, 2022, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested Portillo near Hidalgo, Texas, and issued him an expedited removal order. An officer of the U.S. Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) removed Portillo to El Salvador shortly after.
However, at an unknown time, Portillo illegally reentered the United States without being admitted or paroled by an immigration officer.
On July 5, ERO New Orleans’ Birmingham suboffice received information from ERO San Salvador under the Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement initiative that Portillo may be residing in Columbiana.
On Aug. 11, officials from that office arrested Portillo in Chelsea. Further investigation revealed that since May 5, 2011, Portillo was a subject of interest for aggravated homicide and gang affiliation in El Salvador. He remains in ICE custody pending his removal from the U.S.
“This MS-13 gang member blatantly ignored laws both in his home country and here in the United States and this arrest sends a message that we will not allow our communities to be safe havens for violent criminals,” said ERO New Orleans Field Office Director Mellissa Harper. “By apprehending and removing dangerous individuals like Portillo who are part of transnational criminal organizations, ERO officers are making our communities safer.”
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