MIAMI – A Salvadoran national wanted by law enforcement authorities in his native country for murder was escorted out of the United States Friday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Miami Field Office.
Santos Lemus Abarca, 29, departed Alexandria International Airport in Louisiana Friday morning, and ERO officers turned him over to authorities at El Salvador International Airport later that afternoon. Abarca was in an altercation where he allegedly killed a man in September 2007 by stabbing him numerous times and then shooting the victim, who subsequently he died on the scene. Abarca came into ICE custody March 31, after serving a one-month criminal sentence in the Duval County Jail.
ERO Miami coordinated the removal of Abarca with the ICE attaché office in El Salvador.
Abarca is the latest removal to El Salvador falling under 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 removable under U.S. immigration law.
In just three years, through the SAFE Initiative, ERO has removed more than 550 criminal fugitives to El Salvador. Those removed as part of the SAFE Initiative have been deemed ineligible to remain in the United States and were all wanted by the Policia Nacional Civil (PNC), El Salvador’s national police.
SAFE aligns with ERO’s public safety priorities and eliminates the need for formal extradition requests.