BOSTON — A former Guatemalan military officer who is alleged to have committed human rights violations was removed from the United States by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers.
On Thursday, Sept. 29, Guatemalan national Walter Polanco, 47, who had been living in North Dartmouth was removed by ICE special air charter flight to Guatemala City, Guatemala, and turned over to Guatemalan authorities.
During interviews with government officials in 2007, Polanco implicated himself in the persecution of others and disclosed numerous extra-judicial killings while serving in the Guatemalan Army from 1983 to 1986. Polanco also conceded that he had executed non-combatants of all ethnicities.
On Jan. 9, 2014, ERO officers arrested Polanco without incident while working at a nearby car dealership. Polanco's various applications and appeals for benefits under the Immigration and Nationalization Act were denied. The investigation and removal was supported by ICE's Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC), the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor Human Rights Law Section and HSI Attaché Guatemala.
HRVWCC investigates human rights violators, including those who have participated in war crimes and acts of genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, and the recruitment and use of child soldiers, who try to evade justice by seeking shelter in the United States. These individuals may assume fraudulent identities to enter the country, seeking to blend into communities inside the United States. Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to call the ICE tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) or to complete the agency's online tip form. To learn more about the assistance available to victims in these cases, the public should contact ICE's confidential victim-witness toll-free number at 1-866-872-4973.