“The government presented evidence that Arevalo-Cantarero is a member of
MS-13, a violent street gang composed primarily of immigrants or
descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, with members operating
throughout Prince George’s, Montgomery, Howard and Frederick Counties,
and elsewhere in Maryland and the United States. Members of MS-13
frequently engage in criminal activity, and are required to commit acts
of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the gang and
against rival gangs.”
Today’s commentary is predicated on a news release that was posted on the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) website on February 16, 2012.
There are many reasons why this ICE news release is important.
First, the release provides information about how the immigration
crisis is not limited to the states found in proximity of our nation’s
southern border. Felix Noel Arevalo-Cantarero, aka Felix Noe
Arevalo-Cantarero, is an alien from El Salvador who was arrested in the
state of Maryland, a state that is nearly as far from the U.S.-Mexican
border as you can get.
He is a member of MS-13, a violent gang whose membership includes
aliens from Latin America – predominantly El Salvador, Guatemala and
Mexico. It is significant to know that the FBI recently estimated there
are some 1.4 million members of violent gangs in the United States.
While not all gang members are illegal aliens, a significant percentage
of gang members are, indeed, illegal aliens.
A recent report by the FBI also noted that there is a growing threat
posed by increasing numbers of gang members joining our military where
they are learning military tactics and how to use high-powered weapons,
many of which are being stolen.
On October 26, 2011, Military News published a disturbing article referencing that FBI report, entitled, “FBI Says Gangs Infiltrating the U.S. Military.”
As you read the account of Mr. Arevalo-Cantarero you will see that
his life revolves around violence, as a gang member and as an apparent
sociopath to whom violence is a way of life.
According to the news release, Arevalo-Cantarero had been convicted
of joining with two other MS-13 members and attacking three victims,
leaving one of the victims with what would appear to be life-altering
injuries as a result of having had his skull fractured.
The news release did not furnish any information about the
citizenship of the two other gang members who participated in the
vicious attack, nor was any information provided as to how any of them
had entered the United States, presuming that the two other gang members
were aliens. It is likely, however, that members of MS-13 from Latin
America would have entered the United States by running the U.S.-Mexican
border – the border that Ms. Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland
Security, insists is secure!
Here is an excerpt from the ICE news release that reports on the
vicious assault in which Arevalo-Cantarero and his cohorts participated:
In 2009, Arevalo-Cantarero was part of an MS-13
assault. In that case, Arevalo-Cantarero and two other men approached
two males and one female shouting derogatory slurs. One of the males was
dressed as a woman at the time of the assault. Arevalo-Cantarero and
the others identified themselves as MS-13 gang members and began
throwing rocks at the victims. One of the victims was hit in the head by
a rock, fracturing the victim’s skull, and causing severe internal
bleeding. The victim suffered significant pain and loss of memory and
It is impossible to know what the judge was thinking
when he sentenced Arevalo-Cantarero to 20 years in prison for his role
in the attack and then reportedly suspended all but six months of that
jail sentence. But if I had to guess, the judge may have been thinking
about the high cost of incarcerating prisoners and felt that, since this
defendant was to be deported, a few months in jail followed by
deportation were appropriate. (I wonder what the victim of the crime and
his family thought about the “logic” behind this reasoning, if this
were the case!)
Arevalo-Cantarero was deported to his native El Salvador on November
18, 2010 and ordered to not return to the United States without
Here is the account of how Arevalo-Cantarero was discovered by the police as noted in the ICE news release:
On July 31, 2011, Frederick police officers,
responding to a report of a stabbing, found Arevalo-Cantarero in a
playground, suffering from numerous cutting/stabbing wounds to the head
and neck. He was taken to Hagerstown Medical Center and was arrested
upon his release from the hospital. Further investigation revealed that
Arevalo-Cantarero is an active MS-13 member, part of the Fulton Clique,
which is active in the Frederick area. Arevalo-Cantarero was in
Frederick attending a party, along with other MS-13 members and
associates, when the stabbing occurred. Investigators found that the
stabbing was related to MS-13 activity.
The investigation was conducted by HSI and the Frederick Police
Department, Hagerstown Police Department and the Washington County
Please give some thought to the circumstances surrounding this
incident. The officers found him when they responded to a report of the
stabbing of a victim at a playground, of all places! (His assailants
were not playing – but imagine what this sort of mayhem does to law
abiding residents of a community!) Think about how such an attack can
impact the way that decent people live. Think about how children would
likely be kept from that park for fear that they might get caught up in
it and, if these kids are in their teens and especially if they are of
Hispanic ethnicity, how they themselves may be recruited into MS-13 or a
rival gang by being in the proverbial “wrong place at the wrong time!”
Again it was not noted, but it must be presumed that
Arevalo-Cantarero evaded the inspections process and ran the supposedly
secure southern border of the United States sometime between November
18, 2010, the day he was deported from the United States, and July 21,
2011, the day he was discovered, in that playground, suffering from
This means that he had entered the United States illegally during Ms.
Napolitano’s watch at DHS, an agency I have come to refer to as the
Department of Homeland Surrender for obvious reasons! Recently Secretary
Napolitano said that the “spillover” of violence from Mexico was not a
problem for the United States. On February 23, Fox News Latino published
my Op-Ed about my concerns about this. My Op-Ed was entitled, “Border Spillover Violence is a National Reality.”
Finally, consider how often news reports discuss how having local
police work with ICE can have a chilling effect on police/community
relations. (Pardon the pun!)
Nothing could be further from the truth!
The local cops could not have arrested Arevalo on any state charges
when they found him – after all, he was the victim of a violent attack.
What enabled law enforcement to take this violent thug off the streets
was the authority that is vested in ICE to arrest and have criminal
charges brought against him for unlawful re-entry. It will also be up to
ICE to seek to have him deported, once again.
If ICE had not gotten involved in this case, this dangerous convict
would likely have simply been put back on the street, endangering the
lives of those around him.
It is important to, once again, make it clear that the purpose of our
nation’s immigration laws is to protect our nation and all who live in
our country from those aliens whose presence is problematic. Yet we
continue to see our government refusing to allocate resources to enforce
these critically important laws and, for the most part, even the GOP
candidates for the Presidency have failed to demonstrate their true
commitment to the enforcement of these laws, rarely willing to talk
about the real importance of these laws and generally limiting their
discussions to talk about border fences and E-Verify.