BOLEY, Okla. (AP) - Nearly two dozen illegal inmates in state prison have been turned over to federal authorities for deportation.
A group of 22 inmates at the John Lilley Correctional Center near Boley were transferred Thursday morning to the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
All of the inmates were convicted of committing crimes in Oklahoma, most of them drug offenses. Twenty of the inmates are from Mexico, one is from Guatemala and one is from El Salvador.
The inmates are eligible for transfer under a new state law that requires inmates be imprisoned for a nonviolent offense and already have served at least one-third of their prison sentence.
Prison officials say a total of 181 inmates currently meet the criteria for deportation.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)