Nearly 90 criminal or fugitive illegal immigrants -- including murderers, rapists and kidnappers -- were arrested in sweeps across Virginia and the nation's capital.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced Wednesday that 87 illegal immigrants from 19 countries were picked up in a three-day operation in June and a four-day roundup that ended Wednesday. Immigration officials considered the targets to have been the illegal immigrants who posed the biggest threats to public safety or to national security. Most were arrested in Northern Virginia.

"Those who come to our country illegally and commit crimes should be on notice," said Henry Lucero, director for ICE's Washington office of enforcement and removal operations. "We will root you out, you will be prosecuted for your crimes and we will ultimately send you home."

Of those arrested, 75 had been convicted for a variety of crimes, including murder, rape and kidnapping. At least one arrest involved a member of the Central American-based MS-13 gang. Oscar Montoya, 30, a Salvadoran national and a member of MS-13 who was arrested in Centreville, has felony drug convictions.

The other 12 arrested did not have criminal backgrounds but were immigration fugitives, people who had already been ordered to leave the country by U.S. immigration courts, officials said.

At least six of those arrested will face further prosecution on federal charges. Those already ordered out of the country will be immediately deported, while the others will face removal proceedings. A conviction for felony re-entry carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Of the 87 arrested, 74 were men and 13 were women. They represent more than 19 different nations, including countries in Latin America, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Africa.

The operation was not a job-site roundup, ICE officials said. The targets were selected from a database of hundreds of thousands of fugitive aliens in the United States, and ICE's fugitive operation team worked with local law enforcement agencies to identify the most egregious criminals, officials said.

The operation was conducted by the Washington Field Office, which covers D.C. and Virginia.

Last year, ICE removed a record 380,000 illegal immigrants from throughout the country, including 136,000 who had been convicted of crimes.