IOWA CITY, Iowa – An Iowa City pastor arrested on immigration charges 17 years after being convicted of drunken driving has been deported to Honduras.
David Leopold, an attorney for 41-year-old Max Villatoro, shared an email with The Associated Press from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that confirms Villatoro was removed from the U.S. on Friday and had arrived in Honduras.
Villatoro was among more than 2,000 people arrested this month as part of a five-day nationwide operation targeting convicted criminals living in the country illegally.
A 1998 drunken driving conviction classified Villatoro as a priority.
Supporters of the longtime pastor and father of four collected more than 25,000 signatures asking for his release.
Villatoro’s wife, Gloria, says her husband called her from the airport Friday morning, telling her he was boarding a plane.
ICE Director Sarah Saldaña discussed her agency’s priorities for deportation earlier this week: