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08/23/2011

Canadian murder suspect featured on 'America's Most Wanted' captured in Los Angeles area

Murder victim Poonam Randhawa
After evading law enforcement officials for more than 12 years, murder suspect Ninderjit Singh was arrested last week
After evading law enforcement officials for more than 12 years, murder suspect Ninderjit Singh was arrested last week

LOS ANGELES — Close collaboration between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and homicide detectives with the Vancouver Police Department in British Columbia has led to the capture of an elusive fugitive. This individual, sought for a murder in Canada that took place more than 12 years ago, was once featured on "America's Most Wanted."

Ninderjit Singh, 33, an Indian national and legal resident of Canada, was taken into custody Friday afternoon following a traffic stop traffic stop near his San Jacinto, Calif., home. Officers with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), and the police departments in Santa Monica, Calif., and El Monte, Calif., assisted Los Angeles HSI agents with the enforcement actions leading to Singh's arrest. Local HSI agents also received substantial support with the case from ICE's attaché office in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Singh, who works as a long-haul truck driver, is currently being detained on a provisional arrest warrant, the first step toward extraditing a fugitive. Singh's capture marks the culmination of a manhunt that began in 1999 with the shooting death of his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend, Poonam Randhawa, in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to investigators with the Vancouver Police Department, Randhawa was last seen with Singh in a vehicle near her school. Her body was found a short time later on a nearby street.

The break in the long-running search for Singh came within the last two weeks. Local HSI agents received information from the Vancouver Police Department indicating that Singh might be in the Los Angeles area. Using these new leads, HSI agents quickly located Singh, who had been making a delivery out of state, and began tracking his movements. At approximately 11:30 a.m. Friday, CHP officers, working in conjunction with HSI, pulled Singh's big rig over in Irvine, Calif., and issued him a ticket. Thumbprints taken during the traffic stop verified that Singh was the murder suspect. After confirming Singh's identity with the Vancouver Police Department, HSI agents and local officers moved in to make the arrest.

"After more than a decade, this fugitive likely believed he was in the clear, but he underestimated the determination of Canadian and U.S. law enforcement," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE HSI in Los Angeles. "As this case shows, our borders will never be a barrier to bringing international fugitives to justice. Our goal is not only to ensure that violent criminals are held accountable for their actions, but to protect law-abiding citizens here and around the world."

"In a world where everyone wants instant gratification it is all too easy to abandon cases that aren't solved quickly," said Vancouver Police Deputy Chief Warren Lemcke. "We wouldn't let that happen to Miss Randhawa and her family, or any victim of a crime. We are grateful to our partners in the United States who helped us catch this man."

Singh's case was featured on "America's Most Wanted" in July 2000. Although that program generated a number of leads, Singh continued to elude capture until last week.