LAS VEGAS – A Panamanian national who resided in Clark County and is wanted for murder in his native country, was turned over Tuesday to Panamanian law enforcement officials at Tocumen International Airport by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Ricardo Valentino Lee Mc Carthy, 43, was repatriated under ERO escort on board a commercial flight from McCarren International Airport. Upon arrival, ERO officers turned the suspect over to authorities from the Panamanian Judicial Police. Mc Carthy is wanted in Panama for a murder that occurred Aug. 27, 2002.
A warrant issued by Panamanian authorities in March 2004, accuses Mc Carthy of fatally shooting Yira Zaira Alarcon Cerezo in the course of a quarrel at the lodgings they shared. Mc Carthy, who absconded following the shooting, is charged with aggravated murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Interpol subsequently posted a Red Notice seeking the murder suspect in December 2004.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases indicate Mc Carthy entered the U.S. in September 2002 on a visitor visa, which authorized him to remain in the U.S. for no more than six months.
In November 2013, law enforcement officers assigned to the 287(g) program in the Clark County Detention Center encountered Mc Carthy following his arrest on local charges. In March 2014, he was transferred to ICE custody and the agency placed him in removal proceedings. An immigration judge issued a removal order for Mc Carthy in July 2014, but he appealed his case. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently declined to issue a stay in the case, paving the way for his repatriation to Panama this week.
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.
ERO coordinates the removal of criminals, foreign fugitives and others ordered deported. Last year alone, ERO removed 315,943 individuals from the United States. ICE is focused on smart and effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes its resources based on those who pose the biggest threat to national security, border security and public safety. ICE’s civil enforcement efforts are based on priorities set by the Secretary of Homeland Security in November 2014.