U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Denver Fugitive Operations team officers arrested one of ERO’s most wanted fugitives Friday morning in Aurora, Colorado, making a second arrest in the process.
Jose Victor Bonilla-Melendez, aka Anthony Garcia-Melendez, 48, a citizen of Honduras, was located after ERO received a tip about his whereabouts from someone who saw a social media post by the local Denver ABC affiliate regarding his inclusion among ICE’s most wanted fugitives.
Bonilla–Melendez was wanted by ICE for removal from the U.S. as convicted sex offender, last seen in Aurora.
Bonilla-Melendez has a criminal history that includes felony convictions for assault causing serious bodily injury, sexual assault, and unlawful re-entry of a deported alien.
He has been removed from the U.S. on two prior occasions, most recently on April 5, 2006.
On Dec. 7, 2014, the Aurora Police Department arrested him on local charges, but the subject posted bond before an ICE detainer could be placed.
Despite numerous attempts by ICE to locate his whereabouts, he remained at-large.
“Protecting public safety by identifying and removing dangerous criminal fugitives from our communities is the top priority of our fugitive operations teams,” said Jeffrey Lynch, field office director for ERO Denver.
“A convicted felon and one of our most wanted fugitives, Bonilla-Melendez is a threat no more and is in custody awaiting removal from the United States. I commend the hard work and dedication of our officers.”
(Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) enforces the nation’s immigration laws in a fair and effective manner. It identifies and apprehends removable aliens, detains these individuals when necessary and removes illegal aliens from the U.S. This unit prioritizes the apprehension, arrest and removal of convicted criminals, those who pose a threat to national security, fugitives and recent border entrants. Individuals seeking asylum also work with ERO. Courtesy of ICE.gov and YouTube)
During Bonilla-Melendez’s arrest, ERO officers also encountered another individual who they arrested – Bonilla-Melendez’s brother, German Bonilla, who was convicted of sexual assault against a child and unlawful re-entry after deportation following conviction for an aggravated felony.
German has also been removed from the U.S. twice previously.
“The unanticipated encounter of Jose Bonilla-Melendez’s brother, German Bonilla — another criminal alien — demonstrates the dangerous nature of our Fugitive Operations Teams,” said Lynch.
“Our ICE officers must stay vigilant to the unexpected.”
The ICE National Criminal Analysis and Targeting Center (NCATC) provided critical investigative support for this arrest, including criminal and intelligence analysis from a variety of sources.
The NCATC provides comprehensive analytical support to aid the at-large enforcement efforts of all ICE components.
Members of the public who have information about fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the toll-free ICE tip line at 1 (866) 347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form.