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Enforcement and Removal
02/13/2009

ICE and U.S. Marshals capture 2 fleeing foreign murder suspects

1 target suspected of gunning down his aunt and teenage cousin at church

LOS ANGELES - A Mexican national wanted in his native country for the execution-style shooting of his aunt and teenage cousin at a church is one of two foreign murder suspects captured in the last two weeks by enforcement teams headed by Los Angeles-based officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Juan Alvarado-Gutierrez, 33, was turned over to representatives from the Mexican Attorney General's Office at the border crossing in San Ysidro, Calif., this morning amid tight security. His repatriation comes two days after his arrest on administrative immigration violations in Santa Rosa, Calif. The murder suspect, who used several aliases, is wanted in Mexico for the November 2002 slaying of his aunt and cousin during a religious service in the town of Ojo de Agua in the Mexican state of Guanajuato.

According to the Mexican murder warrant, the two victims, Apolonia Ramirez-Hernandez, 45, and her 14-year-old daughter, Maria Isabel Alvarado-Ramirez, encountered the suspect while attending church. Witnesses say the mother complained to the suspect about his aggressive behavior toward her daughter. At which point, Alvarado reportedly replied, "I won't do that again," and drew a 9 mm pistol from his waistband, shooting both victims in the head at point-blank range.

Alvarado, whose criminal record in California includes prior arrests for rape and sexual battery, was deported to Mexico in July 2002 after serving time for unlawful sex with a minor. Following his capture Wednesday, ICE reinstated that prior removal order, paving the way for the suspect's swift return to Mexico.

Alvarado's capture was carried out by officers with ICE's Los Angeles Fugitive Alien Removal (FAR) Unit and the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Southwest Regional Task Force. The teams received substantial assistance on the case from the Santa Rosa Police Department and investigators with the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office.

Alvarado's arrest comes less than two weeks after ICE's FAR Unit and the U.S. Marshals Regional Task Force arrested a Guatemalan national in the Los Angeles area who is wanted in his native country for a deadly bar shooting last year. Oliverio Grijalva-Carrillo, 32, was taken into custody January 30 on administrative immigration violations. The officers confronted Grijalva near his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Winnetka, where he was arrested without incident.

Grijalva told ICE officers he entered the United States illegally near the rural border town of Douglas, Ariz. Following his arrest, Grijalva waived his right to an immigration hearing, paving the way for his repatriation to Guatemala Tuesday. ICE coordinated closely with Guatemalan officials on his return.

Grijalva is wanted for homicide by authorities in the Guatemalan community of Quezada. He is also named in an international murder warrant issued by Interpol. According to the warrant, Grijalva shot and killed a man during a fight at a Guatemalan bar in September 2008. The fatal shooting occurred during a dispute between Grijalva and the victim, Marvin Esquival-Virula, over a woman believed to be Grijalva's wife. After the shooting, Grijalva fled to the United States.

"Both of these fugitives are suspected of cold blooded slayings and there's a real risk they could kill again," said Brian DeMore, field office director for ICE's Office of Detention and Removal Operations in Los Angeles. "ICE is using its unique immigration enforcement authorities to protect our communities from criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat, including suspects fleeing justice in their own countries. As these violent criminal fugitives are discovering, they can't outrun the law."

"These cases vividly show how cooperation among law enforcement agencies at the local and international levels produces positive results," said Thomas Hession, chief inspector of the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Southwest Regional Task Force. "We've arrested two dangerous fugitives who will now have to face justice in their home countries for the violent crimes they've committed, and for that, our streets are safer."

Since January 2006, officers with the ICE's FAR Unit, working closely with the U.S. Marshals Service and the other agencies on the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, have captured more than 80 foreign nationals being sought in their native countries for serious crimes. More than two-thirds of those suspects were wanted on murder charges.

Editor's note: Representatives from ICE and the U.S. Marshals Service will be available this afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at ICE's downtown office - 300 N. Los Angeles St. - to speak with reporters. To schedule an interview, contact ICE public affairs at (949) 360-3096. In addition, ICE digital photographs of the two murder suspects taken following their capture are available. To request copies, email renee.k.wolford@dhs.gov