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Child Exploitation
12/19/2011

Feds capture Costa Rican fugitive sought in child rape case

HONOLULU – A Costa Rican man wanted in his native country for raping a 3-year-old child a decade ago is facing deportation following his capture Friday night by the U.S. Marshals and agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Diego Mata Sanchez, 46, was taken into custody on administrative immigration violations at a residence in Honolulu by members of the U.S. Marshals' Adam Walsh Sex Offender Task Force and ICE HSI agents, ending a nearly three-year manhunt. Mata Sanchez is the subject of an INTERPOL warrant, or "red notice," issued in April 2009 accusing him of rape, crimes against children and sexual offenses. He is wanted in his native country of Costa Rica for molesting and raping a 3-year-old child in 2001.

"After so many years, this suspect undoubtedly believed he'd eluded justice, but obviously he underestimated law enforcement's resolve," said Wayne Wills, special agent in charge for HSI in Hawaii. "ICE will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners here and around the world to ensure the United States doesn't serve as a safe haven for those accused of violent crimes."

At the time of his arrest, Mata Sanchez did not have legal authorization to be in the United States. He is currently in ICE custody and will be scheduled for a deportation hearing before an immigration judge.