A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Fugitive Operations officer makes an arrest. Photo courtesy ICE.

More than two dozen illegal immigrants, most of them with criminal backgrounds, were apprehended in Riverside County during a U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement operation, federal officials said Thursday.

ICE’s Fugitive Operations officers conducted a five-day sweep throughout Southern California that concluded Wednesday, netting a total 188 arrests in six counties.

The immigrant offenders have convictions for sexual assault, manslaughter, robbery, narcotics dealing, auto theft and a host of other felonies and misdemeanors, according to ICE. Some of the individuals taken into custody had re-entered the country after being deported and now face federal charges for violating immigration laws again, authorities said.

Nine of the arrests were made in Riverside, with four in Moreno Valley, three each in Corona and Perris, two in Indio, and one each in Hemet, Menifee and Norco.

About 80 percent of those taken into custody were from Mexico. Smaller numbers were identified as Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Armenian and Russian nationals.

Since President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders prioritizing immigration enforcement earlier this year, more than 41,000 known or suspected illegal immigrants have been arrested nationwide– a roughly 40 percent increase over the same period in 2016, according to ICE.

–City News Service

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