A Brazilian fugitive convicted of raping a 5-year-old child in his home country was arrested on Martha’s Vineyard last week after authorities learned the sex offender was in the US illegally.
Officers with Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Boston, a division within US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, arrested the pedophile — identified by the MV Times as Saulo Cardoso Ferreira — during a traffic stop in West Tisbury last Tuesday, officials said.
“This undocumented Brazilian national represented a significant threat to the inhabitants of Martha’s Vineyard,” ERO Boston Field Office Director Todd Lyons said in a statement. “He sexually assaulted a five-year-old child in his homeland and then ran from authorities when held accountable for his actions.”
Cardoso Ferreira, 37, was convicted of multiple crimes in Brazil for the disturbing rape and was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2019.
But he never showed up to serve his sentence in May of that year and was believed to have fled the country, ICE said. Authorities in the Brazilian town of Sorriso, Mato Grosso then issued a warrant for his arrest.
Investigators do not know when the convicted sex offender entered the US, but said he crossed into the country illegally — without being inspected or admitted by immigration officials.
ERO Boston only learned of Cardoso Ferreira’s presence on the island off Cape Cod, Massachusetts on Sept. 28, according to ICE.
Officers with ERO Boston apprehended him on Nov. 14. He will remain in ERO custody pending removal proceedings, ICE officials said.
ERO officers have arrested 46,396 noncitizens with criminal histories across the US in fiscal year 2022, according to ICE.
“ERO Boston will not allow such predators to threaten our residents,” Lyons said. “We will continue to apprehend and remove anyone who attempts to use our New England community as a refuge from justice.”
Martha’s Vineyard became the center of the conversation on illegal immigration last year after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis shipped migrants to the tiny island, overwhelming its infrastructure and housing market.
However, there is no known connection between the migrants flown to the popular vacation spot and Cardoso Ferreira, who may have been in the US, and possibly on the island, for much longer given that he is believed to have fled Brazil following his 2019 conviction.