ICE's Texas SOAR Operation Results in Most Arrests of 2012; Texas Sex Crime Lawyer Discusses Federal Raid Targeting Immigrant Child Sex Offenders

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) teams arrested 50 sex offenders and other criminal aliens during the first operation aimed at illegal immigrants convicted of sex crimes. Fort Worth sex crime lawyer, Paul Stuckle, explains the 'Sex Offender Alien Removal' Operation.

Texas was the high watermark in 2012 efforts the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)'s Operations SOAR (Sex Offender Alien Removal). Their five-day September effort arrested 50 convicted sex offenders and other criminal aliens in the agency's ongoing efforts to round up undocumented sex offenders.

Officers of ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) made the arrests. ERO's 16 Fugitive Operations Teams coordinated the mission, which captured undocumented persons previously convicted of child sex crimes throughout Texas. Four Fugitive Operations Teams worked out of North Texas and Dallas to execute the operation. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) helped ICE in developing the fugitive lists.

The effort was part of a national campaign, Operation SOAR. The operation nabbed 11 in Central Florida in October and 20 in the Carolinas and Georgia in January, but the Texas effort was, by far, the largest in 2012.

Of the men arrested, 47 of 50 men had previous felony convictions and 40 had convictions for sex crimes. Other previous criminal convictions of those arrested in North Texas include possession of marijuana, drunk driving, aggravated robbery, alien smuggling, and evading arrest. So far in 2012, ICE's SOAR Operations has made at least 20 other arrests in Georgia and 15 more in Alabama.

Nearly half of the 50 men arrested in Texas were captured in the North Texas region. Of the 24 arrests in north Texas, 15 had previous convictions for child sex crimes including indecency with a child, unlawful sexual intercourse with a child, and aggravated sexual assault of a child.

ICE's SOAR Operation corresponds with the agency’s leading initiative targeting child sex offender, Operation Predator. Since ICE began Operation Predator in 2003, they have made more than 8,000 criminal arrests for sex offenders, across the United States.

Penalties for child sex crimes can include prison time, anywhere from 5 to 99 years, or life imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000, along with the requirement to register as a sex offender. Punishments for child sex crimes in Texas vary based on previous criminal record of the defendant, the severity of the crime, type of offense and the age of the victim. Other consequences to a child sex crime in Texas may also include the inability to vote or own or possess a firearm, professional and/or educational hindrances, a criminal record and other more.

Paul Stuckle is a sexual abuse defense lawyer in Texas with over 25 years of experience representing individuals falsely accused of child sex crimes. He is partner of the North Texas based false allegation firm, Stuckle & Ferguson, PLLC, and has handled hundred sex crime cases for clients. Paul Stuckle continues to represent individuals charged with child sexual offenses throughout Texas.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Paul Stuckle worked as a police officer in the Patrol Division of the Dallas Police Department and has prosecution experience. He has been a Municipal Court Judge for over 15 years and served as the attorney for the Ft. Worth Police Department under the late Chief Thomas Windham.

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