PHILADELPHIA — A Guatemalan fugitive wanted in his home country on outstanding murder charges was deported Thursday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Edwin Estuardo Martinez-Ortega, 18, was deported from Philadelphia Oct. 16 via ICE charter aircraft and transferred to the custody of Guatemalan law enforcement authorities at the Guatemala City International Airport.
He has an outstanding arrest warrant for murder issued May 2, 2014 by the Law Department of Jutiapa in Guatemala. Martinez-Ortega was encountered by ICE officers from the Philadelphia ICE Field Office at a barbershop in Warminster, Pennsylvania on May 13, 2014 and was taken into custody without incident.
ICE officers were initially alerted to Martinez-Ortega’s presence in the area because his brother Nectali Ortega-Duarte was arrested in 2011 and subsequently deported on charges related to the same crime.
While reviewing enforcement cases, local ICE officers discovered Martinez-Ortega living in the area and began checking with Guatemalan authorities regarding the nature of the criminal proceedings in the previous case, working under the suspicion that Martinez-Ortega was also connected to the same case.
A federal immigration judge granted Martinez-Ortega the opportunity to return to Guatemala to face the charges on his own initiative; however, he failed to depart within the time frame set by the judge and had to be escorted by ICE officers.
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 Operations, foreign consular offices in the United States and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.