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February 10, 2017Phoenix, AZ, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ICE Phoenix officers deport convicted felon to Mexico to face 1999 kidnapping charges

PHOENIX — A Mexican man wanted for kidnapping in the State of Sinaloa, Mexico, was deported by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Sebastian Medina-Cuabras, aka Carlos Lopez-Barraza, 39,was transferred to the custody of representatives from Mexico's Procuraduria General de la Republica (PGR) and Mexican immigration officials by ERO officers at the Nogales (Arizona) DeConcini Port of Entry.

According to the arrest warrant issued by Mexican authorities, Medina-Cuabras is wanted for a kidnapping where he and three other individuals organized, prepared and executed a ransom plot in August 1999. Details of the Mexican arrest warrant indicate that Medina-Cuabras and other assailants abducted a man and took him to a home where he was kept blindfolded and his feet and hands bound. Police eventually gained entry into the home and rescued the victim. Medina-Cuabras, fled to the United States shortly afterwards to avoid prosecution.

Medina-Cuabras entered ICE custody Thursday after completing his 17-year prison sentence at the Arizona Department of Corrections following his conviction for aggravated assault (a dangerous crime against children in the first degree, a class 2 felony). Court documents from February 2000, indicate that Medina-Cuabras was involved in a road-rage altercation that erupted between him and the driver of another vehicle with seven passengers which included six minors. As the verbal altercation escalated, Medina-Cuabras opened fire at the other vehicle, striking a 7-year-old boy on his leg. Medina-Cuabras attempted a quick get-away but the driver of the other vehicle chased him. A police officer, who observed the chase, pursued Medina-Cuabras and eventually took him into custody. Police found a semi-automatic weapon and a handgun in Medina-Cuabra's vehicle.

"ICE will continue to remove those who pose a threat to public safety especially those who've harmed our children," said Henry Lucero, field office director of ERO Phoenix. "America is not a safe haven for those who are fleeing prosecution in their home countries. We are firmly committed to ensuring that foreign fugitives will be are returned to face justice for the criminal acts that they have perpetrated abroad."

On Nov. 15, 2012, a federal immigration judge ordered Medina-Cuabras removed, paving the way for his deportation.

Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 1,700 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. In fiscal year 2016, ICE conducted 240,255 removals nationwide. Ninety-two percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a criminal offense.

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 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.