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Friday, May 13, 2011

Man wanted for 2004 murder in Guatemala is deported

by Nathan Gonzalez -
The Arizona Republic
May 13, 2011

A Guatemalan man arrested in San Diego for a murder in his native country was deported by federal authorities Friday morning.

Walter Orozco Veliz, 30, was wanted in connection with the September 2004 murder of Eduardo Franco Campos in Gualán, Zacapa, Guatemala and was arrested April 2 as he tried to enter the U.S., said Vincent Picard, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Phoenix.

Authorities allege Veliz and several other suspects arrived at Campos' home and began arguing with him, according to ICE. At some point, Veliz allegedly pulled a gun and shot Campos twice, killing him instantly.

"ICE will not allow aliens who commit crimes abroad to use the United States as a safe haven from justice in their home countries," ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Field Office Director Katrina Kane said in a statement. "ICE is working closely with law enforcement agencies here and abroad to ensure our international borders are not barriers to bringing criminals to justice."

Veliz apparently evaded authorities until he attempted to enter the U.S. using a valid passport at the San Ysidro Port of entry in San Diego, Picard said. Authorities determined he was wanted by Guatemalan authorities in connection with Campos' murder.

Veliz was found with two counterfeit immigration documents he purchased to work in the U.S., however, Picard was unaware whether Veliz had been in the country previously.

Veliz was detained in Florence while authorities prepared to return him to his native country. On Friday morning, accompanied by ICE agents, his flight departed Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

The airport handles about five to seven deportations per week, Picard said.

Between Oct. 1 and April 30, ICE deported 215,900 wanted immigrants to their home countries. That figure includes 109,700 people with criminal convictions, with 585 being convicted of homicide, 3,177 convicted sex offenders and 24,593 convicted of serious drug offenses.