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ICE removes former Guatemalan police officer wanted for activist’s disappearance

Human RightsICE removes former Guatemalan police officer wanted for activist’s disappearance

LOS ANGELES — Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Los Angeles removed a former Guatemalan police officer accused of participating in the widely publicized, forced disappearance of a student leader and union activist in 1984. Officials removed Hugo Gómez Osorio, 63, to his home country of Guatemala on a flight coordinated by ICE’s Air Operations Unit March 8. Upon arrival, they turned him over to the proper authorities.

“Criminals seeking to evade horrific crimes committed in their home country will not find safe harbor here in the United States,” said ERO Los Angeles Field Office Director Thomas Giles. “Thanks to the collaborative professionalism between HSI, the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, and the dedicated men and women of ERO Los Angeles, Gómez Osorio has been returned to his home country of Guatemala to face justice for violating human rights.”

Gómez Osorio entered the United States without admission or parole by an immigration officer on an unknown date. On Dec. 9, 2010, the government of Guatemala requested Gómez Osorio’s arrest for the offenses of illegal detention, abduction or kidnapping, abuse of authority, forced disappearance and failure to comply with human rights.

In August 2019, ERO Los Angeles located and arrested Gómez Osorio during a targeted enforcement operation. Officials served him with a Notice to Appear for procuring admission into the United States by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles’ National Security Group and ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC) investigated this case. The HSI attaché in Guatemala City, Guatemala, assisted in the investigation. ICE’s Los Angeles Office of the Principal Legal Advisor litigated the case.

An immigration judge ordered Gómez Osorio removed from the United States on Feb. 3, 2021. After exhausting due process, ERO Los Angeles removed him.

Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives may contact ICE by calling the ICE tip line at 866-347-2324 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also file a tip online by completing the online tip form.

Learn more about ICE’s mission to increase public safety in your community on Twitter @EROLosAngeles.

ERO, a directorate of ICE, upholds U.S. immigration law at, within, and beyond our borders. ERO operations target public safety threats, such as convicted criminal noncitizens and gang members, who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-enter the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges. ERO deportation officers assigned to Interpol also assist in targeting foreign fugitives for crimes committed abroad at-large in the U.S. ERO manages all aspects of the immigration enforcement process, including identification and arrest, detention, bond management, supervised release, transportation, and removal. Additionally, ERO repatriates noncitizens ordered removed from the U.S. to more than 150 countries worldwide.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

The HRVWCC is the only government entity focused completely on investigating global atrocities and the perpetrators of human rights violations and war crimes. Initiated by HSI in 2008, the HRVWCC leverages the knowledge and expertise of a select group of special agents, attorneys, intelligence analysts, criminal research specialists and historians who are charged with preventing the United States from becoming a safe haven for individuals who engage in the commission of war crimes, genocide, torture and other forms of serious human rights abuses from conflicts around the globe. Read more about the work of the HRVWCC online.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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