RICHMOND (CBS SF) – A rumor circulating online led to panic in the East Bay Wednesday afternoon when an unsubstantiated claim that federal immigration officers were conducting operations in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties went viral.

Around 12:30 p.m., numerous social media users began to copy and paste a detailed statement claiming that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers had set up a checkpoint at a retail store in Richmond, advising friends to avoid the area and tell everyone they knew.

The statement also indicated that the original poster was “getting word” of ICE agents at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, and that a sighting of two ICE vehicles had been “confirmed” near the West Oakland BART station at 11:30 a.m.

None of those claims have been verified, however. Contra Costa College issued a statement at 1:39 p.m. that campus police had not received any reports of federal agents entering their jurisdiction.

“If ICE agents were entering our campus, the protocol is to call and notify the local dispatch centers,” college officials said. “At this point, there has not been any official notification.”

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt later referred to the claims as false rumors, citing information he received from the Richmond Police Department.

“Multiple reports of ICE ‘raids’ today in the Bay Area have all been found to be false,” ICE spokesman James Schwab said in an email Wednesday evening.

ICE enforcement operations typically target specific individuals on a case-by-case basis, rather than setting up checkpoints, according to Schwab.

“Our operations are targeted and lead driven, prioritizing individuals who pose a risk to our communities,” Schwab said.

“Examples would include known street gang members, child sex offenders, and deportable foreign nationals with significant drug trafficking convictions. To that end, ICE’s routine immigration enforcement actions are ongoing and we make arrests every day.”

Schwab declined to speculate on how Wednesday’s rumor got started.  When asked whether ICE planned to investigate the incident, he said the agency’s efforts were “focused on our agency mission.”

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Comments (4)
  1. Greg Gadfly says:

    President elect Trump has stated his position several times.

    If you are an illegal immigrant and have been committing crimes, “bad hombres” you will be going home, otherwise we are glad to have you. Many of you work very hard and are productive.

    An example of a person that should go home…
    A corrupt Mexican DEA employee has been using his vehicle to commit insurance fraud.

    His vehicle is described as a cream colored older model Cadillac Escalade. He was last seen running his scam at the one of the major casino’s self park parking garage in Las Vegas.

    He tried the scam on me….

    I got into my vehicle which was parked on the top floor of the self park garage. I had parked my car in an area with many open spots around me. The lot was only about 2/3 full.

    As I started my car, I glanced up to look into my rear view mirror when I watched this older cream colored Cadillac quickly pull up and place the front of his car directly behind me and sit. His car was perfectly positioned so that I might have missed it if I had not seen him drive up. I watched for a few more moments when he spotted me watching him in the rear view mirror. He then quickly pulled back then forward then back and forward again and I presume he exited the parking lot because as I left I could not see his car anywhere.

    Description: ~2005 Cream colored Cadillac Escalade,mexican male driver approximately 30 years of age with short military style hair cut, last spotted at the $%#@ parking garage.
    I called the Casino security and gave them a description of the car and driver. I also indicated I was parked so that they could see the entire incident on security cameras.

    If you see this person in a casino parking lot, contact the casino security.

    We all know Mexico has a problem with corrupt law enforcement. With corruption being as pervasive as it is in Mexico, why would law enforcement employees of Mexican descent in the U.S. be any different?

    Everyone be careful. He is a corrupt piece-of-s**t..

    I had a very good look at this person as I stared into my rear view mirror waiting for him to move. I have seen him several other times thereafter.