Arnaldo Echevarria, formerly a federal deportation officer with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was indicted Monday by a grand jury in New Jersey on seven counts of accepting cash bribes and sex from undocumented immigrants. Echevarria, 38, is charged with accepting upwards of $78,000 in bribe money from seven immigrants and forcing two women to have sex with him in exchange for help with their work authorizations and protection from deportation.
One of the women who was extorted became pregnant with his child. Prosecutors say Echevarria attempted to convince the woman to have an abortion and forced her to hide his paternity. After the birth of their child, the accused is said to have continued to have sex with the woman for help with her authorization papers.
Echevarria was also indicted on one count of lying to ICE officials and one count of illegally harboring an undocumented immigrant. Prosecutors say that in exchange for these bribes, Echevarria made false claims that the immigrants had been approved for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a special condition where certain refugees can remain in the country illegally.
Trouble for Echevarria is said to have begun in April 2015 when a report was filed that he illegally employed his girlfriend, an undocumented worker who entered the United States with a false identity, at a hair salon he owned in West Orange, New Jersey.