An illegal alien, with an extensive criminal history, who fled to avoid deportation was caught Wednesday by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement at his job as the lead security officer at the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building. Kareem Markland, a citizen, was arrested after being positively identified by officers of ICE's Philadelphia fugitive operations unit.
The building houses key city government offices, including the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the city's Department of Commerce. Scotland Yard Security in Philadelphia employs about 300 persons and is contracted by the city to perform security services.
At the time of the arrest, ICE officers observed Markland performing the duty of checking identification and issuing photographic identification cards to building visitors. He worked between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at this position daily.
Additionally, Markland was wearing an identification badge bearing his own photo and the name "Errol Johnson." He was employed under this name and used a Social Security Number that was not his own. Illegal aliens are not authorized to work in the United States and employers who hire illegal aliens risk criminal prosecution and administrative penalties.
"This is exactly why one of our highest priorities is locating the 465,000 fugitive absconders who have fled," said ICE Field Office Director Tom Decker, who leads detention and removal operations in Pennsylvania. "At least 85,000 of these aliens are criminals like Markland and Ward. They use fraudulent identification cards, bogus or stolen Social Security Numbers and any other means they can think of to hide among society. It's very important to know who's standing before you, guarding your building or working for your business because your life may literally depend on it."
Ironically, when an officer conducted surveillance to confirm Markland's presence at the building and actually entered through the security checkpoint being manned by the fugitive, Markland was so confident of his assumed identity that he checked the ICE officer's identification without hesitation and waived the officer through the checkpoint.
Markland has used an alias before. He was arrested on immigration charges Sept. 30, 1997 and gave the name "Wayne Harrison," which he had given to New York police when arrested previously on drug charges. Under that name he was convicted and sentenced to three years probation. He violated probation and a bench warrant was issued for him June 20, 2000. New York has declined to extradite Markland for violating probation.
Markland told officers that he obtained the job through Warren Ward, who is also a fugitive criminal alien. Ward, who uses the alias "Noel Eldridge," has an extensive criminal record that includes charges for forgery, unsworn falsification to a law enforcement official, false identification to law enforcement, disorderly conduct, and possession of a weapon. Ward was convicted on the forgery and disorderly conduct charges, and has an outstanding bench warrant on the for possession of a weapon.
ICE officers went to Scotland Yard Security's company office to find Ward because they had specific information that he was there. Officers met with Garnett C. Littlepage, who volunteered that he was the owner of the company, but he was uncooperative in helping locate Ward despite a supervisor at the company telling the officers that Ward was at one of the sites that the company guards. Ward remains a priority fugitive for ICE.
Source: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, National Association of Chiefs of Police
About the author: Jim Kouri, CPP, is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's a former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book "Assume The Position" is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. His daily blog is online at http://jimkouri.mensnewsdaily.com/blog/kouri/.