ICE agents arrest at least 2 men in Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested at least two men in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday during what an ICE official described as a “targeted enforcement operation.”
Freddi Sanchez Hinojoza, 39, and Jervis Elkado Pusey, 34, were booked into the Moffat County Jail, according to jail booking records. Hinojoza is native to Mexico, and Elkado is native to Jamaica. Both men were living in Steamboat, the records show.
Officials at the Moffat County Jail said both men were being held temporarily at the jail but have since been released to ICE. It is unclear what further action will be taken.
ICE agents arrested Elkado outside of Kum & Go at 2032 Curve Plaza, according to Nelly Navarro, executive director of Integrated Community, a local nonprofit that offers legal help and other services to immigrants. Steamboat Pilot & Today obtained the names of the men from jail booking records and not Integrated Community as it is the policy of the nonprofit to keep client information confidential. Hinojoza was arrested at City Market, 1825 Central Park Plaza, where Navarro said he was working.
“We were informed by one of the employees there that (ICE agents) were looking for a targeted individual,” Navarro said.
Steamboat Pilot & Today reached out to City Market, but local employees declined to comment, and company officials did not return calls for comment.
Hinojoza has sought help with Integrated Community in the past, according to Navarro. Under the nonprofit’s policy, it is unknown if clients are living legally in the U.S. or not. Since his arrest, Navarro has been trying to contact his family to connect them with resources, but those attempts have been unsuccessful.
Aleathea Smock, a Denver-based public affairs officer with ICE, said in an email that arrests are a regular, daily operation for the agency. The majority of the people taken into custody — over 90%, according to Smock — are “criminal aliens,” she said in the email.
“These aliens are potentially deportable foreign nationals who’ve come to our attention specifically because they’ve been arrested and booked by local law enforcement following the alleged commission of a crime,” Smock said.
This falls under the agency’s stated goals “to protect the nation, uphold public safety and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls,” she added.
Hinojoza had a prior arrest listed on his booking record. On Oct. 31, Colorado State Patrol troopers pulled him over for weaving on the road. He was arrested and booked into the Routt County Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, having an open alcoholic beverage in the vehicle and driving without a valid driver’s license.
Elkado had no prior arrests or criminal activity listed on his booking record. In an email, Smock explained that during targeted enforcement operations, ICE agents frequently encounter other people living illegally in the country.
“These aliens are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and, when appropriate, they are arrested by ICE officers,” she said.
Integrated Community helps people affected by ICE enforcement find family members and navigate legal processes among other services. To seek help, call the nonprofit at 970-871-4599.
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