Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 161 individuals from 13 different countries over the weekend, including six in Ventura County, during a five-day enforcement operation that also included Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside and Santa Barbara Counties.
Officials say that the targets of the raids were immigrants who have been perceived as “public safety threats”; and of the 161, 151 had prior criminal convictions.
One individual was arrested in Camarillo, two in Ventura and three in Oxnard, according to a fact sheet released by ICE.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said that it had not been informed prior to the raids, adding to Oxnard Police Chief Scott Whitney’s assertion over the weekend that ICE raids within the city had not been confirmed. Confusion over where exactly in Ventura County ICE raids had occurred when state Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Los Angeles, claimed that raids had occurred in both Santa Paula and Oxnard.
On Feb. 9, Whitney released a statement in conjunction with Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten, the Sheriff of Ventura County and the cities of Ventura, Port Hueneme, Simi Valley and Santa Paula, as well as Capt. Terry Roberts of the California Highway Patrol, reading that “Ventura County law enforcement has not historically participated in the direct enforcement of immigration laws” and that they “do not intend to change that practice.”
ICE raids in Ventura County are not new, however. In 2016, 16 immigrants with prior convictions were arrested, and a later sweep targeted 112 across Southern California, including Ventura County. In 2015, a similar Southern California sweep netted 244 immigrants but none in Ventura County. Further back, in 2008, 22 were arrested in Ventura County with outstanding deportation orders, according to ICE officials, as reported by the Ventura County Star.