CHICAGO — A Guatemalan man, who is wanted in his home country on murder charges, was turned over to Guatemalan authorities Thursday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Sergio Mendez-Guillen, 57, was repatriated April 21 via an ICE charter flight to Guatemala City.
Mendez-Guillen illegally entered the United States on an unknown date before being convicted in Cook County, Illinois, in 2014 for domestic battery. Following his domestic battery arrest, ICE received a tip that Mendez-Guillen was wanted in Guatemala for allegedly murdering his elderly aunt. After confirming the existence of an active Guatemalan arrest warrant for murder, ICE deportation officers arrested Mendez-Guillen outside his Chicago residence Oct. 22, 2015, and placed him in removal proceedings.
On March 4, a federal immigration judge ordered Mendez-Guillen deported to Guatemala; he remained in ICE custody until his removal Thursday.
According to the Guatemalan warrant and court documents, Mendez-Guillen is wanted in connection with the murder of his elderly aunt, Dora Estela Mendez-Castillo, on April 22, 1999, in Guatemala City. The warrant states that the aunt was hurriedly buried — with the cause of death listed as bronchial asthma — without the family’s knowledge. After a concerned neighbor notified the victim’s sister, the body was exhumed and the cause of death was determined to be murder by blunt chest trauma.
The Chicago ICE office received considerable assistance on this removal from the ICE Attaché office in Guatemala.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 1,150 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Office of International Operations, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the United States. Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the toll-free ICE tip line at 1 (866) 347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form.
In fiscal 2015, ICE removed or returned 235,413 individuals. Of this total, 165,935 were apprehended while, or shortly after, attempting to illegally enter the United States. The remaining 69,478 were apprehended in the interior of the United States, and the vast majority of these were convicted criminals who fell within ICE's civil immigration enforcement priorities.
Ninety-eight percent of ICE's fiscal 2015 removals and returns fell into one or more of ICE's civil immigration enforcement priorities, with 86 percent falling in Priority 1 and eight percent in Priority 2. In addition, ICE's interior enforcement activities led to an increase in the percentage of interior removals that were convicted criminals, growing from 82 percent in fiscal 2013 to 91 percent in 2015.