CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement officers conducted a search in the Charleston area Tuesday afternoon in an attempt to locate a man that they said is a public safety concern.

The man is in his 30s and from the Middle East, and he was recently convicted of vehicular manslaughter and vehicular assault following an incident in Ohio.

“We conducted a targeted enforcement action with an attempt to locate a target who’s amenable to removal proceedings. He’s in violation of the Immigration Nationality Act because he overstayed his visa. Further, he is a public safety threat as per the current immigration enforcement priorities,” Assistant Field Office Director Joe Gigliotti said.  

ICE officers pursued this target because he fell into their Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities category.

“Those priorities are public safety threats, terrorism and recent entrance. So, the target of today’s operation fit squarely within the public safety arena, and we chose to effect the operation because of that,” Gigliotti said.

Officers said they have been investigating this case for over a month.

Gigliotti said, “His comings and goings would be the majority of the work, the casework that goes into an investigation like this that’s done on the front end. What you’re seeing today is a culmination of many man hours of effort put in by our officers.”

Despite checking two pre-researched addresses, the target was not located. However, the man’s family was at one of the locations, and they agreed to comply with ICE protocols and bring the man to the ICE office within this next week to be apprehended and face potential removal proceedings.

ICE officers who conducted this search said safety is always a top priority when pursuing a target.

“It’s better for himself to turn himself in because we’re not out in the neighborhood. It’s a controlled environment, so it’s safer for the public and safer for the officers too, and for the target to have a controlled location where things can be completed in a civil manner and a safe manner,” said Cammilla Wamsley, Field Office Director for the Philadelphia ICE Field Office, which overseas the Charleston-area.  

Wamsley said though the man was not located, narrowing down locations of where he could be is positive in this investigation. She and other officers also said because the target is considering a safety threat, ICE will continue to actively pursuing this case.

“When we have somebody who is definitely squarely within the priorities for enforcement, and we know where they’re located, we’ve done that research or we have a good indication of where they’re located, I feel that’s a good expenditure of the Field Office Assets and the field office trying to locate the person,” Wamsley said. “I’m okay with it sometimes not working out.”