Immigration sweep nabs more than 3,100

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents take a suspect into custody in Chula Vista, Calif., March 30, 2012, as part of a nationwide immigration sweep. Federal officials say they arrested more than 3,100 immigrants convicted of serious crimes and fugitives in a six-day nationwide operation.
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - Federal officials said they arrested more than 3,100 immigrants convicted of serious crimes and fugitives in a six-day nationwide sweep.

The "Cross Check" enforcement operation targeted criminal aliens and "egregious immigration law violators," officials at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said today.

The operation involved more than 1,900 ICE officers and agents, with assistance from ICE Homeland Security Investigations and partners in federal, state and local law enforcement. Arrests were made in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and three U.S. territories.

More than 1,000 of those arrested had multiple criminal convictions. The most severe cases included murder, manslaughter, drug trafficking and sexual crimes against minors.

The totals included an estimated 50 gang members and 149 convicted sex offenders.

Nearly 700 arrests were of fugitives who had previously been ordered to leave the country as immigration violators but had failed to depart. An additional 559 were illegal re-entrants.

International fugitives from justice were also targeted, including Carlington David Richards, 34, a Jamaican national living in Federal Way, Wash., who is wanted for murder in Jamaica.

The sweep comes nearly a year after ICE pledged to focus on deporting illegal immigrants with serious criminal histories and those who posed national security threats, while going easier on many who stay out of trouble.