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Enforcement and Removal

ICE repatriates Mexican murder suspect captured in San Jose

Alejandro Ornelas-Cortes
Alejandro Ornelas-Cortes

SAN DIEGO — A Mexican national wanted for murder was turned over to Mexican law enforcement personnel at the San Ysidro border crossing by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers Wednesday. He was captured in northern California two months ago.

Alejandro Ornelas-Cortes, 37, was transferred to the custody of representatives from the Mexican Attorney General's Office by ICE ERO officers. Ornelas is wanted in his native country for fatally shooting another man at a wedding reception in the Mexican state of Guanajuato on June 18, 2005. According to the Mexican arrest warrant, issued in August 2005, Ornelas allegedly shot Salvador Menchaca Castro several times with a pistol after a short argument.

Ornelas' repatriation to Mexico follows his arrest on administrative immigration violations Oct. 27 outside his residence in San Jose, Calif. Officers assigned to one of ICE's Bay Area Fugitive Operations Teams tracked Ornelas down after receiving a lead from the Mexican Attorney General's Office that he might be living in the San Jose area. On Dec. 12, an immigration judge ordered Ornelas removed from the United States, paving the way for his return to Mexico.

"The return of this murder suspect to Mexico to face justice is a direct result of our close collaboration with our law enforcement counterparts in Mexico," said Timothy Aitken, field office director for ERO in northern California. "ICE will continue to use its unique immigration enforcement authorities to promote public safety and ensure the United States doesn't serve as a safe haven for those accused of violent crimes."

Since Oct. 1, 2009, ICE ERO has removed approximately 260 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ICE ERO works with ICE's Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States and INTERPOL to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.