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October 15, 2014Chicago, IL, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ICE deports Bulgarian Interpol fugitive convicted of raping a minor

CHICAGO — A Bulgarian national, who is wanted in his home country following his conviction for raping a 14-year-old girl, was deported Tuesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Romeo Mihov Ruskov, 48, was removed Oct. 14 from Chicago via commercial aircraft under ERO escort, arriving in Sofia, Bulgaria, Oct. 15. Ruskov is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice related to his conviction for raping a minor in Bulgaria. He was transferred to the custody of Bulgarian law enforcement authorities to serve an outstanding four-year prison sentence for this conviction.

According to the Interpol Red Notice, on Feb. 16, 1993, Ruskov and others raped a 14-year-old girl in the Bulgarian town of Pazardzhik, using threats and force. He was convicted of this rape in May 2012 by the regional court in Pazardzhik and sentenced to four years in prison. An appellate decision issued by the Pazardzhik District Court Nov. 8, 2012 upheld the conviction and sentence.

After committing the rape in 1993, Ruskov subsequently fled to the United States by flying to Mexico City and then paying a smuggler $3,000 to help him illegally cross the U.S./Mexico border in Texas in 1995. He was encountered by the U.S. Border Patrol and placed in deportation proceedings. On Nov. 7, 1995, an immigration judge ordered him to depart the United States voluntarily, a decision later upheld by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Ruskov failed to depart as required and remained in the United States as an immigration fugitive.

"The removal of Mr. Ruskov highlights how ICE works in tandem with its law enforcement partners around the globe to bring fugitives to justice," said Ricardo Wong, field office director for ERO Chicago. "Criminals who try to evade justice abroad will find no refuge here in the United States."

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) received information in early July that Ruskov was living in the Chicago area.

On July 25, HSI special agents and members of the U.S. Marshals Service’s Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Ruskov near his residence in Des Plaines, Illinois. At the time of his arrest, Ruskov was living under an assumed identity and working at Granite Leaders in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. He remained in ICE custody until his removal Tuesday.

HSI received considerable assistance in this investigation from the following agencies: U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and the FBI’s Legal Attaché Office in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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 HSI, ICE's Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.