Sanctuary areas were targeted.

Via Boston Herald:

ICE agents have detained more than 50 illegal immigrants in raids in the last two days targeting suspected drug dealers — many of whom had been freed by local judges or jails, the Herald has learned.

The busts were carried out in East Boston, Dorchester, Lawrence, the Worcester area, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut, according to a law enforcement official who told the Herald the focus of the operation was combating the region’s deadly opiate epidemic.

The detainees include three illegal immigrants from Brazil who are wanted there for murder, the official said.

“The target was fentanyl, heroin and cocaine dealers and the illegal immigrants doing it,” the law enforcement official said, adding details of the sweep are due to be made public Thursday.

Boston-based Immigration and Customs Enforcement teams joined others from all over New England in a continuation of this fall’s Operation Law and Order. The earlier sweep netted 50 suspected illegal immigrant drug dealers and resulted in the seizure of enough fentanyl to “kill half the state,” one top official said at the time.

This week’s raids included some with drug convictions or pending drug cases, the official said, with many eligible for deportation. The official said that in many of the cases, the illegal immigrant drug suspects had been allowed to go free by local judges and jails despite active ICE detainers.

Resistance to immigration law has become increasingly widespread in Massachusetts and other parts of the country in reaction to the Trump administration. The so-called “sanctuary city” movement — where police are directed by mayors to not cooperate with ICE — has been spreading to courts, with reports of judges aiding illegal immigrants suspected of crimes in evading ICE agents waiting with detention orders.

“Sanctuary policies in Massachusetts are contributing directly to the opiate epidemic by returning the very criminals who are peddling back to the streets to deal,” said Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies. “They could have been sent back to their home countries instead of back to our neighborhoods to keep distributing death.”

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