Lankan among 45 wanted individuals arrested in the US

A Sri Lankan is among 45 foreign fugitives – all subjects of active Interpol notices for individuals wanted in connection with criminal activity – who were arrested across the United States this week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Arrests occurred nationwide during the three-day enforcement operation June 21 to 23, the US Department of Homeland Security said today.

Pothuvilage Ushan Bernard Karunaratne, 38, of Sri Lanka was arrested on June 21 in Fort Worth, Texas. An Interpol red notice has been issued on him from Sri Lanka for fraud.

“Project Red II” targeted individuals with Interpol red notices and others wanted for serious crimes within Interpol member countries. A red notice serves as an international wanted notice and provides information on the identification of fugitives charged with or convicted of serious crimes who have fled prosecution or the serving of their sentence.

The 45 individuals arrested during Project Red II were wanted for crimes in 22 different countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Sixteen were wanted on various fraud charges, seven were wanted for homicide and four for illegal gang activity. Other alleged crimes included drug trafficking, rape, embezzlement, extortion and kidnapping.

Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed 1,789 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, Interpol and Europol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the United States.

ERO coordinates the removal of criminals, foreign fugitives and others ordered deported. Last year alone, ERO removed 235,413 individuals from the United States. (Colombo Gazette)