At least 77 “worst of the worst” accused offenders were arrested during an operation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Atlanta Field Office earlier this summer, according to a report on Thursday.
Most of the individuals arrested have had convictions for aggravated assault, cruelty towards children and other crimes that targeted the young, Thomas Giles, the ICE Atlanta Field Office director, told FOX 5.
He said the operation — which spanned from July 13 to Aug. 20 — focused on individuals he deemed “the worst of the worst — the threats to public safety.”
Giles said ICE is keeping its detention centers at less than 70% capacity to allow for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
The area of responsibility for ICE Atlanta consists of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. He said a third of the arrests were made in Georgia.
One of the arrests included Juan Cabrera-Vial, 39, of Guatemala. Authorities found him in Canton, which is 40 miles outside Atlanta, according to the station.
Cabrera-Vial was arrested by police in May after allegedly breaking into his ex-wife’s apartment and assaulting her and her niece with a machete. Authorities charged him with numerous offenses following the alleged incident, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, terroristic threats, and home invasion.
Cabrera-Vial has not yet been indicted, according to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office.
The ICE operation follows similar ones conducted in major U.S. cities — including Miami, Dallas, and Los Angeles –back in August.
“All of our operations that we do are targeted enforcement operations,” Giles told FOX 5. “So. we’re not out there randomly knocking on doors or pulling cars over. ICE does not conduct raids or sweeps.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report