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January 20, 2015Las Vegas, NV, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ICE removes admitted MS-13 gang member wanted for murder in El Salvador

LAS VEGAS — A previously deported Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang member arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol in South Texas last year, who is wanted for murder in his native El Salvador, was removed to San Salvador Wednesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Miguel Alexander Guevara-Quintanea, 22, was repatriated on board a charter flight coordinated by ERO’s Air Operations Unit. Upon arrival, ERO officers turned the suspect over to officials from El Salvador’s Civilian National Police (PNC). Guevara-Quintanea is wanted in his native country for a murder that occurred June 15, 2014.

According to the arrest warrant issued by Salvadoran government, Guevara-Quintanea shot the victim, Jose Hernandez Contreras, multiple times outside his home in Usulutan, El Salvador, while the victim was meeting with the suspect and two other MS-13 members.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases indicate Guevara-Quintanea was encountered in July 2014, just one month after the murder, by agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol after he attempted to enter the U.S. illegally near Donna, Texas. In October 2014, U.S. Embassy representatives notified ICE officials in El Salvador that Guevara-Quintanea was wanted as a suspect for the June 2014 killing. In December, Interpol issued a Red Notice on the homicide warrant and the suspect was transferred to ICE custody in Las Vegas pending his removal from the United States. According to DHS databases, Guevara-Quintanea had been previously deported from the U.S. once before in February 2013.

“Criminals who flee to our country hoping to escape justice will find no haven in our communities,” said Bryan Wilcox, acting field office director for ERO Salt Lake City. “As this case illustrates, ICE works closely with its foreign counterparts to promote public safety and hold criminals accountable – no matter where they commit their crimes.”

Guevara-Quintanea is the latest accused criminal removed to El Salvador as part of ERO’s Security Alliance for Fugitive Enforcement (SAFE) Initiative. The SAFE Initiative is geared toward the identification of foreign fugitives who are wanted abroad and are removable under U.S. immigration law. Through the SAFE Initiative, ERO has removed more than 480 wanted criminal fugitives to El Salvador in the last three years. SAFE aligns with ERO’s public safety priorities and eliminates the need for a formal extradition request, which can be a lengthy and costly process.