Buffalo, N.Y. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations announced the apprehension of a missing 15-year-old girl from Georgia and the arrest of a 27-year-old man who accompanied her.
On December 22, CBP officers encountered Jose Rivera-Perez, a 27-year-old El Salvadorian national, as he applied for admission into the United States at the Peace Bridge border crossing, Buffalo, N.Y. Rivera-Perez, was traveling with a 15-year-old female and advised CBP officers that he was being returned the U.S. after being refused entry into Canada. He stated that the two were enroute to Canada to visit family members in Toronto for the holidays. A primary name query of the 15-year-old female revealed that she may be subject of a missing persons report out of Georgia. The report was issued on December 18 and was initiated by the girl's family. Both subjects were referred to CBP for a secondary enforcement exam.
During the course of the secondary inspection, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and CBP officers determined that the juvenile was in fact the subject of the missing persons report. CBP officers confirmed the validity of the report with the Clarkson, Ga. Police Department. ICE and CBP also notified the juvenile's parents, who advised that she did not have permission to travel, nor did the pair have permission to take the family car.
Additional record checks on Rivera-Perez revealed that he had been previously deported from the United States in April of 2007. Rivera-Perez admitted that he illegally reentered the United States sometime in May of 2007, doing so on foot across the U.S./Mexico border.
Rivera-Perez admitted that he and the 15-year-old female were romantically involved, and that they were going to Canada to start a new life. Rivera-Perez was charged with Transportation with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity and Re-entering the United States after Deportation. Rivera-Perez remains in the Batavia, N.Y. Federal Detention Facility pending prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Western District of New York Office. The juvenile was temporarily sheltered at the Compass House in Buffalo, N.Y. She was re-united with her family on Christmas Eve morning.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.