FOX 5 Exclusive: ICE officers arrest sex offenders in Maryland

Teams of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are out and about across the D.C. region daily arresting foreign nationals suspected or convicted of criminal activity.

FOX 5's Bob Barnard and our cameras were there with ICE officers for the recent arrests of two sex offenders in Maryland. The agency is seeing a record number of arrests this year in the D.C. region of immigrants who are in the country illegally.

"Our first team here in Oxon Hill is four officers that are set up on this trailer park waiting for this individual to come out of his house," said senior Maryland-based field officer with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Matt Elliston. It was just before dawn Monday in Prince George's County as FOX 5 accompanied his team. "Once he gets in his vehicle, we'll pull him over and attempt to apprehend him."

"We are going to be arresting a Guatemalan national who's been convicted of three different counts of a sex offense against a minor," he said.

Elliston's team first stops a man who turns out to be the suspect's brother.

"A lot of my clientele wake up pre-dawn hours to get to work. So, we get up earlier than them and wait for them to head out," Elliston said.

Soon, their actual target is seen leaving the house, getting into his car and heading off to work.

"Well, the hope on any arrest like this is that it's done smoothly and safely with the least amount of effect to the community."

Within minutes, that's what happens in the parking lot of a nearby gas station. He's a 24-year-old Guatemalan national in the country illegally, who has been convicted of sexually assaulting a minor but not sentenced to prison. We've agreed to hide his identity, and those of some of the ICE officers.

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FOX 5 Exclusive: ICE officers arrest sex offenders in Maryland

"The most important thing for us is that we get him out, and get him removed out of the United States, and back to his own country," Elliston told Barnard.

These officers work for ICE'S Enforcement and Removal Operations and consider themselves essentially street cops. This is their 150th arrest this fiscal year which ends September 30 - compared to 80 last year. The increase is a pretty big deal according to Elliston.

"It's not just about the 150 sex offenders right because this is a population that has a high recidivism rate. So this is 151 people who are not out sexually abusing and assaulting those that are the most vulnerable population. So, my officers take great pride in the fact that we're stopping the creation of more victims," he said.

Later that day in Columbia, Maryland, ICE officers arrested a 50-year-old Mexican national. Elliston said the man had previously been removed from the United States twice and had failed to register as a sex offender when he came back. He said the man was convicted of sexually molesting a 5-year-old girl.