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February 28, 2023Houston, TX, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO Houston removes twice-deported foreign fugitive wanted in Honduras for homicide

HOUSTON — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Houston, with assistance from ERO Tegucigalpa and the Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force, removed Rufino Garza Monroy, a twice-deported foreign fugitive from the United States on Feb. 24. Garza is wanted in Honduras for homicide.

Officials flew Garza, a 48-year-old unlawfully present Honduran national, from Alexandria, Louisiana, to the Ramon Villeda International Airport in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on a charter flight coordinated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Air Operations Unit. Upon arrival, officials handed him over to Honduran law enforcement.

Garza first illegally entered the United States on an unknown date and at an unknown location. On May 28, 2009, ERO Houston officers lodged an immigration detainer with the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville after Garza was incarcerated at the facility for aggravated robbery. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice transferred Garza into ICE custody Feb. 24, 2010, and ERO Houston processed him as expedited removal. On May 8, 2010, ICE officers removed Garza from the U.S. to Honduras.

Garza illegally reentered the United States on Feb. 7, 2019, near Progreso. The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended him the same day and reinstated his prior order of removal. On Feb. 8, the Magistrate Court in Weslaco convicted Garza of illegal entry. The U.S. Border Patrol transferred him to ICE custody on Feb. 12, and then on Feb. 15 that year, ICE officers removed Garza from the U.S. to Honduras.

Garza illegally entered the United States for the third time on April 2, 2021, near Roma. U.S. Border Patrol apprehended him the same day and reinstated his prior order of removal. On Aug. 11, 2021, the Magistrate Court in Weslaco convicted him of illegal reentry and sentenced him to 24 months of incarceration. Garza was released from the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on Dec. 14, 2022, and transferred into ICE custody. On Dec. 19, 2022, ICE confirmed that Garza had an active arrest warrant in Honduras for homicide. He was removed from the U.S. to Honduras on Feb. 24, 2023, and turned over to Honduran authorities.

“Foreign fugitives who illegally enter the United States to flee from criminal charges in their country of origin will find no safe haven here in Southeast Texas,” said ERO Houston acting Field Office Director Gabriel Martinez. “Our officers are uniquely trained to track down and apprehend foreign fugitives so that they can be repatriated to their country of origin to stand trial for their alleged crimes.”

Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE Tip Line at 866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form.

For more news and information on how the ICE ERO Houston Field Office carries out its immigration enforcement mission in Southeast Texas, follow us on Twitter @EROHouston.

The SAFE Program is a fugitive enforcement and information sharing partnership that was created in 2012 to better use subject information derived from local in-country investigative resources and leads to locate, apprehend, detain, and remove individuals residing in the United States illegally who were subject to foreign arrest warrants. The SAFE Program operates under the respective host nation’s AAR, which constructs a SAFE task force composed of relevant foreign law enforcement agencies, immigration authorities, attorneys general, and national identification repositories — as well as other regional, national, state, and local government agencies. The managing AAR ensures that each task force member complies with SAFE policies and standards consistent with the program’s standard operating procedures. Once established, the AAR-led SAFE task force generates new leads and vets existing SAFE fugitive referrals for ERO action.

ERO, a directorate of ICE, upholds U.S. immigration law at, within, and beyond our borders. ERO operations target public safety threats, such as convicted criminal noncitizens and gang members, who have violated our nation's immigration laws, including those who illegally re-enter the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges. ERO deportation officers assigned to Interpol also assist in targeting foreign fugitives for crimes committed abroad at-large in the U.S. ERO manages all aspects of the immigration enforcement process, including identification and arrest, detention, bond management, supervised release, transportation, and removal. Additionally, ERO repatriates noncitizens ordered removed from the U.S. to more than 150 countries worldwide.

Updated: 02/28/2023