HOUSTON – A Salvadoran MS-13 gang member who is wanted in his native country for his role in four murders, was turned over to authorities in El Salvador Friday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).This removal is the latest result of stepped up collaborative efforts to locate Salvadoran criminal fugitives in the United States and return them to El Salvador to face justice.
Manuel Edgardo Rivera-Bautista, 32, was flown to El Salvador June 28 onboard a charter flight coordinated by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Air Operations (IAO) Unit. Upon arrival, the suspect was turned over to officials from the El Salvadoran Civilian National Police (PNC).
"ERO’s active program of removing criminal aliens is a significant benefit to U.S. public safety," said David Jennings, field office director of ERO Houston. "The ongoing cooperation between the U.S. and Salvadoran governments resulted in this foreign fugitive being returned so he can face justice in his home country."
Rivera-Bautista was encountered by the U.S. Border Patrol March 31 while attempting to illegally enter the United States. He was transferred into ICE custody May 8. On May 21, Houston ERO was notified that Bautista had an outstanding criminal arrest warrant in El Salvador for aggravated homicide.
Bautista was first encountered Nov. 17, 2008, by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents who were working with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Miami. An immigration judge ordered his deportation on Nov. 21, 2008, as an illegal alien not lawfully admitted to the United States. Bautista was subsequently removed to El Salvador in January 2009. Anyone who re-enters the United States after being deported commits a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The deportation of fugitive Manuel Edgardo Rivera-Bautista is 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 are working closely with the PNC, the Salvadoran National Interpol Office and Salvadoran Immigration as part of this effort. In the first nine months of fiscal year 2013, the PNC executed more than 101 criminal arrest warrants with fugitives being returned to El Salvador aboard IAO removal flights. Many of those arrests involved homicide-related charges or other violent crimes.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 640 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 ICE Homeland Security Investigations' (HSI) Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.