Cape Girardeau police detain four on Immigrations and Customs request

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A report of trespassing led Cape Girardeau police, in cooperation with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, to detain four men Sunday suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.

The men were allegedly working construction at a residence in the 1200 block of South Pacific Street when the owner decided to terminate their employment and asked them to leave, said Sgt. Barry Hovis, spokesman for the police department.

Arrested on the trespassing charge were Luis A. Sanavria, 27, Pedro N. Silva, 51, Wilfredo O. Erazo, 38, and Osman S. Omar, 28, all listed as homeless.

Because none of the men could produce any paperwork, police contacted Immigrations and Customs to inquire if the men should be held on detainer, and it was requested that they be taken into custody, Hovis said.

"So what started out as a routine trespassing call turned into an ICE arrest," Hovis said.

Though Cape Girardeau police will investigate illegal immigrant reports, the majority of these arrests and detainers begin as an investigation into another type of complaint, making the number of incidents difficult to track, Hovis said.

From July to October, 51 people were detained by Cape Girardeau police for Immigrations and Customs, all of them having been detained on other charges when their immigration status was discovered.

Immigrations and Customs has been requesting detainers more often than they used to, Hovis said.

About 15 incidents since January 2008 have resulted in arrests for alleged illegal immigration status, involving more than 50 individuals, Hovis said.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

333-3635

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