Phoenix, Arizona - A Salvadoran national arrested by federal officers near the Nogales border in 2014, who is wanted for three fatal shootings in his native country, was turned over Wednesday to authorities in El Salvador by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) at the international airport in La Paz.
Edwin Alexander Garcia-Pimentel, aka Huezo, 41, was transferred by ERO officers to the custody of Salvadoran law enforcement officials. An arrest warrant issued in June 2013 by a judge in El Salvador charges Garcia with aggravated murder.
According to the Salvadoran warrant, Garcia is a known member of the Colonia Palos Grandes clique of the notorious 18th Street Gang. On Nov. 6, 2012, Garcia and several other 18th Street Gang members allegedly shot and killed three young gang members following an argument in which the suspects purportedly accused the victims of rebelling against gang leadership. A fourth individual was seriously wounded in the altercation. Following the killings, Garcia and the other assailants fled the scene.
After assuming custody of the accused triple murder suspect, ICE placed him in removal proceedings and an immigration judge determined Garcia had no legal basis to remain in the U.S., paving the way for Wednesday’s repatriation.
“Garcia likely believed he’d succeeded in evading justice,” said Enrique M. Lucero, field office director for ERO Phoenix. “However, he clearly didn’t realize the level of ongoing law enforcement cooperation to locate and capture foreign criminal fugitives. ICE is continuing to use every tool at its disposal to ensure foreign fugitives are made to answer for their crimes.”
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 1,150 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Office of International Operations, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the United States.
Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the toll-free ICE tip line at 1 (866) 347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199.