Looked at the FBI’s Most Wanted list lately? If not, you might be surprised to learn that four of the 10 criminals on the list are immigrants — including at least two who were in this country illegally when they committed their heinous crimes.
The makeup of the list highlights the problem of illegal immigration and crime in this country that President Donald Trump raised throughout his presidential campaign — something he’s continued to emphasize, with the creation of a special unit at the Department of Homeland Security called Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE).
Of the six American citizens on the list, three are Spanish speakers. Two of those three have ties to Mexico and are thought to possibly be hiding out in that country.
At least three of the criminals on the list have ties to violent transnational gangs that did not exist in the U.S. before the 1980s.
“They exploit the border. They exploit the weakness in the border,” Andrew Arthur, a former immigration judge and now a fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies, told LifeZette.
The makeup of the list and the immigrants on it, he said, show that border enforcement and immigration really is “a law enforcement responsibility.”
“Aliens commit crimes. That’s a fact,” he said, pointing to a 2011 Government Accounting Office (GAO) report on crimes committed by people in this country illegally.
The two criminals on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list who were illegally in the U.S. are Alexis Flores, a citizen of Honduras, and Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel, a citizen of India.
Alexis Flores is wanted for the kidnapping, rape and strangulation of a five-year-old girl; in 2000, her body was found in an abandoned apartment building in Philadelphia.
The FBI lists five aliases for Flores and four different birth dates; news reports reveal he was arrested under one of those aliases in 2006 and deported to Honduras after he was charged with using a device to forge documents. It wasn’t until after his deportation that his DNA was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) system — and was found to be a match for the DNA found on the little girl in Philadelphia.
Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel of India is the other illegal immigrant on the list. He murdered his wife in 2015 in the kitchen of a Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Hanover, Maryland, where they were both working the overnight shift. The murder was caught on the store’s surveillance camera.
Patel and his wife came to the U.S. on a tourist visa and were supposed to leave the same month they arrived — but did not, according to the Anne Arundel County Police Department. Patel stabbed his 21-year-old Indian wife to death, reportedly because she wanted to return to India and he didn’t. After the murder, he took a cab to New Jersey, and after staying one night in a hotel near Newark Airport, he boarded a train in New Jersey. He has not been seen since.
As for another immigrant on the list, Yaser Abdel Said, he’s an Egyptian-born taxi driver who murdered his two teenage daughters in Texas in 2008. He was able to flee and is believed to be in New York City or some other large metropolitan area, earning a living driving a cab.
An FBI spokesperson said the bureau “does not focus on the immigration status of wanted individuals.”
Said shot and killed his two daughters, Amina and Sarah, in what relatives believe were “honor killings” because he thought the girls had become too westernized. He had been accused of raping both girls when they were eight and nine — but the mother, an American named Tissie Owens who married Said when she was just 15 and he was 30, had withdrawn the allegations.
In a New York Daily News article about the search for Said in the New York City area, the head of the New York State Foundation of Taxi Drivers said there are 10,000 unlicensed drivers in New York City.
“It’s as easy as getting in your car and driving to the airport or picking up illegal street hails,” he said.
And Eduardo Ravelo is a Mexican citizen who was a legal resident of the U.S. at the time he is thought to have committed dozens of murders for the Barrio Azteca gang. He was indicted in federal court in Texas in 2008 and again in 2011. The FBI reports that he has ties to El Paso, Texas, and Mexico, and he is reportedly thought to be hiding out in an area of northern Mexico controlled by drug cartels.
An FBI spokesperson said the bureau “does not focus on the immigration status of wanted individuals. All individuals on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, regardless of status, will face trial and prosecution in the United States after they have been apprehended.”