Authorities say a Mexican national wanted for defrauding hundreds of Mexican citizens of their total earnings was deported and turned over to Mexican law enforcement authorities Thursday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Ernesto Karam-Garcia, 45, entered the U.S. with an Investor Visa in Aug. 2011, officials said.
On Nov. 29, 2011, Mexico's 39th District federal court issued an arrest warrant for Karam-Garcia charging him with fraud.
Karam-Garcia was arrested Aug. 21 at his San Antonio home by the U.S. Marshals Service Long Star Fugitive Task. After his arrest, authorities said he was turned over to ICE, where he remained in custody until his removal on Thursday.
According to Mexico's Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), Karam-Garcia and two other associates allegedly defrauded several hundred Mexican citizens of their earnings, totaling more than $150 million in U.S. currency.
"This individual thought he could evade justice in Mexico by hiding in the United States," said Enrique M. Lucero, field office director for ERO San Antonio. "As this case makes clear, ICE works closely with law enforcement agencies here and abroad to ensure convicted criminals are returned to their home countries in order to be held accountable for their actions."
ICE officers worked with Mexican authorities to identify that Karam-Garcia (pictured, right) was allegedly wanted for fraud in Mexico. Officials said the PGR assisted ICE by providing copies of the warrant and helped coordinate the removal at the U.S./Mexico International Border at Laredo, Texas.
"This was a proud day not only for the law enforcement agencies involved in the apprehension and deportation of Karam-Garcia, but most importantly for the victims who suffered economically and sought justice," said U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas Robert R. Almonte.
Authorities said the removal is a result of the expanded binational cooperation to identify arrest and repatriate Mexican fugitives who have fled to the U.S. to avoid prosecution. Homeland Security Investigations Mexico works closely with the Mexican government as part of this effort. Many of the captured fugitives are charged with homicide or other violent crimes in Mexico, officials say.