... california

Belgian Fugitive Is Sent Home
The man, convicted of raping a girl in Europe, was found in a Garden Grove apartment.

By David Haldane
Times Staff Writer

May 5, 2006

A Belgian fugitive, convicted in absentia of raping a 10-year-old girl in Europe and arrested in Garden Grove, was flown home early Thursday, authorities said.

Van Tich Nguyen, 57, a naturalized Belgian citizen, arrived in his adopted country aboard a commercial flight early Thursday escorted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. He faces five years in prison, officials said.

Nguyen fled to the United States in April 2005. In October, Belgian authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. Immigration agents arrested him at an apartment in Garden Grove on April 13 after receiving a tip from Interpol.

Nguyen entered the United States on a waiver program that allows Belgian citizens to travel without visas for up to 90 days, authorities said. Under the terms of the program, they said, he was required to leave the U.S. last July.

"This is another example of how ICE is working with its law enforcement partners around the globe to target those who prey on children," Kevin Kozak, an ICE investigator, said in a written statement. "We will not allow international borders to be barriers to bringing sexual predators to justice."