News Americas, BALTIMORE, MD, Weds. April 2, 2014: A 20-year-old Colombia citizen who was living in the U.S. as an exchange student has been sent packing back to his native land almost a year after he was found guilty of sex abuse of a nine-year-old child.
Robert Alexis Saldarriaga-Yepes was flown to the El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, Colombia handed over to Colombian law enforcement authorities by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers Monday.
On Aug. 12, 2010, Saldarriaga entered the United States from Colombia as an F-1 student attending Carroll Christian Schools in Westminster, Md.
He was arrested on Dec. 6, 2012, by Frederick County Sheriff deputies on sex abuse of a minor and other sex offenses of a 9-year-old girl. The girl and her mother reported the alleged abuse to the school she and Saldarriaga-Yepes attended. Saldarriaga-Yepes was accused of abusing the girl several times between November 2011 and December 2011. He admitted to inappropriately touching the girl.
On May 20, 2013, Saldarriaga was found guilty of sex abuse of a minor and sentenced to 30 years in prison. On Feb. 25, 2013, Saldarriaga was encountered at the Frederick County Detention Center by immigration enforcement officers and later placed in immigration removal proceedings.
Because of his criminal conviction, ICE executed an administrative deportation order on Sept. 12, 2013, charging Saldarriaga as an aggravated felon and ordered his removal from the United States to Colombia.
On March 10, 2014, Saldarriaga was taken into ERO custody and transported to the Worcester County Detention Center pending his removal. He was deported on March 31, 2014.
“By removing child sex offenders from our streets and our country, ICE is continuing our commitment to improving public safety in our communities and for our nation’s children in particular,” said Dorothy Herrera-Niles, field office director for ERO Baltimore. “Our program with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office further ensures that criminal aliens like Saldarriaga, who pose a threat to law abiding residents in Maryland, are removed from the country when they complete their criminal cases, rather than being released to the streets.”
In fiscal year 2013, ICE conducted 368,644 removals nationwide with nearly 60 percent of ICE’s total removals being immigrants who were previously convicted of a criminal offense.