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Enforcement and Removal
03/13/2009

ICE and U.S. Marshals capture fleeing foreign murder suspect in Salinas

Target suspected in ambush killing of man in Michoac?

SALINAS, Calif. - A Mexican national wanted in his native country for the deadly ambush of a man in the state of Michoacán 12 years ago was turned over the Mexican authorities today following his capture here earlier this week by enforcement teams headed by Los Angeles-based officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Rafael Ramirez-Avina, 47, 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. Ramirez's repatriation comes two days after his arrest on administrative immigration violations in Salinas, Calif. He was taken into custody without incident at his apartment at 1036 John Street.

Ramirez is wanted in Mexico for gunning down a man along a rural road near the village of Churintzio in January 1997. According to the Mexican Attorney General's Office, Ramirez and seven other armed assailants ambushed the victim, Genaro Bravo-Bravo, firing more than 100 bullets at his truck before opening the vehicle's door and shooting him at point-blank range with a shotgun.

Ramirez's capture was carried out by ICE detention and removal officers from San Francisco and members of the agency's Fugitive Alien Removal (FAR) Unit in Los Angeles. Also participating in the arrest were officers from the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Southwest Regional Task Force and the Salinas Police Department.

"International fugitives are not beyond the reach of justice," 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 not only to see justice served, but to protect law abiding citizens on both sides of the border from this type of senseless violence."

"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 a dangerous fugitive who will now have to face justice in his home country for the violent crime he's 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.