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Enforcement and Removal

Colombian murderer deported

MIAMI - A Colombian national who fled to the United States to avoid serving a 35-year sentence for a 1994 double homicide in his home country was deported Friday to Colombia by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officers.

Raul Sanabria Castaneda, 41, was removed under ICE escort without incident. Castaneda was subsequently turned over to INTERPOL agents who were waiting for him at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, Colombia.

"The United States will not be used as a safe haven by criminals fleeing from justice," said Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE John Morton. "We hope that today's removal can help bring healing to the family of the victims whose lives were forever changed by Castaneda's actions."

Castaneda was arrested by ICE special agents on Jan. 23, 2009, after he appeared in court for an arraignment on state misdemeanor charges for two counts of battery and one count of disorderly intoxication under the alias of Ramon Diaz.

The ICE Office of Investigations in Miami was contacted by the Miami Dade Police Department (MDPD) because Castaneda's immigration status was questionable. ICE agents conducted an investigation and discovered that Castaneda was in the United States illegally. A fingerprint analysis of Castaneda returned positive results for an Interpol Red Notice indicating that he was a wanted international fugitive.

ICE agents interviewed Castaneda, who claimed he was Ramon Diaz, a citizen of Venezuela, having legally entered the United States approximately 10 years ago through John F. Kennedy International Airport. Further investigation revealed that Castaneda entered the United States without inspection. He was charged federally with making false statements to a federal agent. He was convicted on March 19, 2009, on federal charges of misusing visas, making false statements to a federal agent and aggravated identity theft.

The ICE Offices of Detention and Removal and Investigations worked in close coordination with INTERPOL, the ICE Attaché in Colombia and the MDPD to identify, locate and arrest Castaneda.