- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 5, 2003

MIAMI, March 5 (UPI) — An alleged Honduran torturer wanted for prosecution for two human rights activists 15 years ago is in detention in Miami Wednesday awaiting deportation, federal authorities said.

Jaime Ramirez, 48, was arrested at his home by the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It was the first major arrest by the new office, created Friday when three bureaus replaced the old Immigration and Naturalization Service as it folded into the homeland security agency.

The INS began arresting foreign torture suspects nearly three years ago. Ramirez' arrest brought to 46 the number of those arrested.

"The identification, arrest and removal of human-rights violators is a clear priority for not only the past in INS, but now for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement," said James Goldman, district director of the agency's Florida bureau.

Ramirez was allegedly a member of a Honduran death squad known as Battalion 3-26. Authorities say the squad abducted and killed 184 dissidents who opposed the military Honduran government in the 1980s.

There now have been five death squad members arrested in Florida.

Ramirez has been accused in the murders of Miguel Angel Pavon Salazar and Moises Landaverde near Florencia.

Pavon Salazar led the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in the suburb of San Pedro Sula, and Landaverde was a leader of a teachers union in the area.

Criminal Court Trial Judge Luis Adolfo Cruz of San Pedro Sula issued an arrest warrant for Ramirez July 18, 2002, said court records obtained by The Miami Herald.

Ramirez was arrested at his home Tuesday and taken to the Krome Avenue detention center west of Miami.

Human rights activist Richard Krieger of Boynton Beach, Fla., hailed the arrest. He has compiled lists of alleged torturers and turned them over to federal officials. Ramirez had been listed for five months.

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