Atlanta CBP Arrest Alleged Maryland Rapist
ATLANTA – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working jointly with ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested an unlawfully present Guatemalan man wanted on six felonies related to rape and sexual assault in Maryland at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Wednesday. The man was arrested while he attempted to flee the country by boarding a flight destined for Guatemala.
Sergio Morales Soto, 19, a Guatemalan national, was arrested by a joint Border Security Enforcement Task Force (BEST) comprised of HSI special agents and CBP officers. The Hartsfield BEST exists to enhance extended border security by disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal activities transiting through the airport.
In addition to CBP and HSI, the task force includes the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as state and local partners from the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, Clayton County Police Department, Atlanta Police Department and the Georgia Department of Revenue.
“There are no borders to federal agencies' work together to capture wanted criminals.” said Carey Davis, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Atlanta. “We remain vigilant in taking dangerous people off the streets and prohibiting fugitives from escaping the country.”
“Fugitives who seek to commit crimes in the United States thinking they may flee elsewhere should be on notice that HSI and its law enforcement partners are actively committed to identifying and disrupting transnational criminal networks.” said ICE Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Nick Annan.
Soto was taken into custody after CBP officers verified the validity of the arrest warrants with the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office. HSI special agents subsequently detained him on immigration charges and transferred him to the Atlanta Police Department pending his extradition to Maryland to face the multiple felonies he is charged with there.
CBP’s Office of Field Operations is the primary organization within Homeland Security tasked with an anti-terrorism mission at our nation’s ports. CBP officers screen all people, vehicles and goods entering the U.S. while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. CBP conducts inspection operations and intercepts currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture products and other illicit items, and on average arrests 22 wanted persons a day at U.S. ports of entry nationwide.
Criminal charges are merely allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law
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Travelers are encouraged to visit CBP’s Travel section to learn rules governing travel to and from the United States.