WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) removed a former director of intelligence with Colombia’s now dissolved Administrative Department of Security (DAS) from the United States.
Enrique Ariza Rivas, 49, a Colombian citizen, has been charged in Colombia, together with other former officials of the DAS, with aggravated psychological torture of a journalist. Ariza Rivas has also been charged in Colombia for various crimes relating to unlawful wiretapping.
This case was litigated by ICE’s Orlando Office of the Chief Counsel with the support of the Human Rights Law Section and the Immigration Law and Practice Division.
“Bringing this criminal to justice highlights that the United States and ICE will not allow criminals to hide behind the protections of our borders, no matter how important their former positions,” said Maria Bjornerud, chief counsel at the Orlando office.
ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Bogota, Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit (TCIU) and International Operations personnel all assisted in this case. The HSI Bogota TCIU will transfer Ariza Rivas to Colombian authorities upon arrival in Colombia.
Due to the nature of the allegations against him in Colombia, the enforcement effort targeting Ariza Rivas was supported by ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC). Established in 2009 to further ICE’s efforts to identify, track and prosecute human rights abusers, the HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders.
Since 2003, ICE has arrested more than 380 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders against and physically removed 785 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Additionally, ICE has facilitated the departure of an additional 108 such individuals from the United States.
Currently, HSI has more than 160 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,750 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries. Since 2003, the HRVWCC has issued more than 70,400 lookouts for individuals from more than 110 countries and stopped 213 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering the U.S.
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-2423 (1-866-347-2423). Callers may remain anonymous. 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.