ALEXANDRIA, La. — Two Salvadoran nationals wanted on murder and rape charges in their home country were removed from the United States Wednesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to face charges.
Salvadoran law enforcement authorities issued an arrest warrant in November 2010 for Oscar Giovanni Castro, 32. He is wanted in El Salvador for allegedly murdering an individual Dec. 9, 2004. They also issued an arrest warrant in December 2009 for Jose Mario Solis, 28. He is wanted in El Salvador for allegedly raping a child or disabled person.
"ICE will continue to focus its enforcement operations on identifying, arresting and removing dangerous criminals who pose the greatest risk to our communities," said Trey Lund, field office director for ERO New Orleans.
Lund oversees a five-state area of operations to include Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
"This removal is the result of the diligent work on the part of our officers, law enforcement partners and chief counsel. It is a successful day when another dangerous criminal is removed from our communities," said ERO Washington Field Office Director M. Yvonne Evans.
ERO initially took Castro into custody in the District of Columbia.
Castro and Solis were removed via a charter flight Wednesday from Alexandria to San Salvador, El Salvador, via ICE Air Operations. From there, ICE officers transferred both individuals into Salvadoran law enforcement custody. Since 2006 ICE Air Operations, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., has supported ERO by providing mass air transportation and removal coordination services to ERO field offices nationwide. Staffed by ERO officers, these air charters enable the agency to repatriate large groups of deportees in an efficient, expeditious and humane manner.
These most recent repatriations are another example of expanded bi-national cooperation to identify, arrest and repatriate Salvadoran criminal suspects who have fled to the United States to avoid prosecution. ICE officers work closely with the Policía Nacional Civil (PNC), the Salvadoran National Interpol Office and Salvadoran immigration as part of this effort.
In fiscal year 2013, ICE returned 160 criminals with active arrest warrants from the PNC to El Salvador via ICE removal flights. Many of those arrested were accused of homicide-related charges or other violent crimes.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 645 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with ICE's Homeland Security Investigations Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.