SAN DIEGO — A Mexican national captured recently in northern California, who is charged in his native country with murder and kidnapping, was turned over Tuesday to Mexican law enforcement personnel at a San Diego-area border crossing by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Pablo Christian Larumbe Rojas, 34, was transferred to the custody of representatives from the Mexican Attorney General's Office. A warrant issued by authorities in Mexico City accuses Larumbe of murder and kidnapping in connection with the September 2010 disappearance of Carlos Palomares Maldonado, who purportedly owed the suspect's criminal confederates roughly $3,000. According to the warrant, Palomares offered to settle the debt by trading his extensive collection of Star Wars action figures, which were worth more than the amount he owed. The victim reportedly went to Larumbe's residence Sept. 22 with his Star Wars memorabilia and failed to return home. Days later, Mexican authorities detained several individuals who were in possession of the victim's body and subsequently implicated Larumbe in the kidnapping and killing.
On Feb. 14, representatives with the Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security's Assistant Regional Security Officer for Investigations in Mexico City contacted ERO San Francisco and members of the U.S. Marshals Service Northern Fugitive Task Force with information on Larumbe's possible whereabouts. Within hours, the suspect was located and taken into custody by ERO and the U.S. Marshals Service at the Antioch hotel where he worked as a night auditor under an alias.
Department of Homeland Security databases indicate Larumbe originally entered the U.S. in September 2011 on a visitor's visa, which authorized him to remain in the country for no more than six months. Following his arrest, ERO detained the suspect and placed him in removal proceedings. On June 4, an immigration judge with the Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review ordered Larumbe deported, paving the way for this week's repatriation.
"The so-called ‘force' was definitely not with Mr. Larumbe during his capture and subsequent removal to Mexico," said Timothy Aitken, field office director for ERO San Francisco. "This fugitive's arrest and repatriation are the direct result of the ongoing cooperation between U.S. law enforcement and our Mexican counterparts. Violent criminals who believe they can evade justice by fleeing to the U.S. should be on notice they will find no refuge here."
"With agents in 275 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world and eight domestic field offices covering the United States, the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security is uniquely positioned to help overseas law enforcement locate, pursue and apprehend fugitives," said Paul C. Isaac, regional security officer of the American Embassy in Mexico City. "This type of close, federal and worldwide law enforcement coordination allows us to capture fugitives like Larumbe and return them to face justice."
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 720 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.