LIMA, Peru — A former Peruvian police officer wanted in his native country for weapons trafficking was handed over to authorities in Lima late Wednesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) following his capture in Stockton, Calif.
Hector Antonio Llontop-Novoa, 51, was repatriated to Peru on board a commercial aircraft accompanied by Sacramento-based officers with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). Upon arriving in Lima, the ERO officers handed Llontop-Novoa over to awaiting officials from the Peruvian National Police (PNP).
In July 2010, Interpol's U.S. National Central Bureau received a "red notice" indicating Llontop-Novoa was the subject of a criminal warrant issued by Peru charging him with a "national security offense." Specifically, Peruvian authorities allege that in July 2000 while Llontop-Novoa was serving as a captain with the PNP he supplied government small arms to a criminal or terrorist organization. The weapons were purportedly used in an armed assault that occurred in Peru Aug. 29, 2000.
Less than a month after the attack, U.S. Department of Homeland Security databases indicate Llontop-Novoa entered the United States on a visitor's visa and subsequently received an extension authorizing him to remain in the country through Sept. 2001.
In April 2011, after receiving information indicating the Peruvian fugitive might be in northern California, the U.S. Marshals Service sought ICE's assistance to locate and capture him. Llontop-Novoa was taken into custody May 17, 2011, by ERO's Sacramento-based Fugitive Operations Team and officers from the U.S. Marshals Service. Â
This week's repatriation is the culmination of a nearly two-year effort by ICE to gain Llontop-Novoa's removal. Following his capture, ICE placed Llontop-Novoa in removal proceedings and an immigration judge ordered him deported in June 2012. He appealed the decision, but the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed the appeal late last year, paving the way for his removal.
"Criminals who seek to escape responsibility for their actions by fleeing to the United States will find no sanctuary here," said Michael Vaughn, assistant field office director for ERO Sacramento. "As this case makes clear, ICE is working closely with its law enforcement counterparts here and overseas to promote public safety and hold criminals accountable â no matter where they commit their crimes."
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 566 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with ICE's Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.