Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials identified, and provided some more details regarding an illegal immigrant arrested in the township earlier this month.
According to an agency spokesman, agents arrested Jose Marcello Vargas, 46, in West Milford during raids earlier this month that rounded up some 115 illegals statewide.
According to the agency, Vargas initially entered the United States illegally in January 2000.
While in New Jersey, he was convicted of criminal sexual contact with a child in 2007.
The agency did not provide details of where that crime took place, or what sentence Vargas was given.
He was arrested on immigration violations in 2010 and deported to El Salvador, the agency said.
He returned illegally to the U.S. at an unknown time and place, remaining here until ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested him in the raids Feb. 1.
He remains in ICE custody, the agency said.
Vargas was not listed on the New Jersey State Police’s sex offender registry for West Milford, and no record could be found on the New Jersey Department of Correction’s inmate search web site to see if he served time for the 2007 conviction.
Vargas was among 115 individuals the agency arrested in the state during a five-day period from Jan. 27 to Feb. 1.
According to a Feb. 4 press release from the agency, 84 percent of those arrested in the raids had either a criminal conviction or were currently facing criminal charges.
Those charges that included homicide, sexual assault on a minor, child abuse, possession of narcotics, distribution of narcotics, extortion, DUI, fraud, domestic violence, theft, possession of a weapon, robbery, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child, assault by auto, receiving stolen property, shoplifting, burglary and illegal reentry, according to the agency.
Both ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s New York Field Office assisted with these arrests, the agency said.
According to the agency, its work has been hampered in the state thanks to the policies of Gov. Phil Murphy and his Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
Grewal issued a directive in 2018 that limits the amount of cooperation state and local law enforcement can give to ICE regarding enforcement and removal operations.
The directive does not allow state and local agencies to provide property or resources to aid the federal agency in raids similar to those it recently conducted.
In 2018, Grewal said the directive was designed to make it easier for those in the country illegally to provide information to law enforcement on other crimes without having to fear being deported.