FAIRFAX, Va. - One of the ten illegal immigrants found dead inside an overheated tractor trailer in Texas had ties to the D.C. region and the MS-13 gang.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson in Fairfax said 19-year-old Frank Fuentes grew up in Northern Virginia. Last year, he was convicted of assault and battery by a mob and was a suspected MS-13 gang member. He was deported to his native Guatemala on March 2.
ICE said agency records indicate Fuentes unlawfully entered the United States in July 2000.
Just four months after being kicked out the United States and sent back to Guatemala, Fuentes was smuggled back to the U.S.
“You have the national security and public safety concerns that come out of this smuggling,” said Patrick Lechleitner, special agent in charge for ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation, who is not connected to the tractor trailer case in Texas.
A GoFundMe page for Fuentes says the 19-year-old grew up in Fairfax a reportedly graduated from J.E.B. Stuart High School.
However, ICE said Fuentes was a suspected MS-13 gang member.
“The gangs take advantage of those vulnerable populations and then they get people into their gangs and that's a huge criminal problem,” said Lechleitner.
Fairfax County police admit strict guidelines to classify a defendant as a gang member or participating in gang activity present challenges in getting gangs off the streets. That could explain why Fuentes was convicted last June for assault by mob instead of gang activity.
“We here in America, we need to number one secure our borders,” said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.). “Number two, we need an immigration policy in this country and the system we have today is broken.”
He went on to say the system in place is not working.
“No individual should be deported out of the country and then immediately be able to get back in the country,” McAuliffe said.
The Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney's Office said the incident that led to Fuentes’ deportation involved him and three others attacking a victim who was standing at a bus stop. They reportedly yelled at him for standing on their corner.