Former Guatemalan Top Cop Charged with Murder Arrested in U.S. for Visa Fraud

14 Feb 2018

U.S. immigration authorities arrested a former chief of the Guatemalan National Police on visa fraud charges after he failed to disclose he had been charged with the murders of two political activists in his home country.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested former chief of the Quetzaltenango, Guatemala National Police, Catalino Esteban Valiente Alonzo, 77, on charges of visa fraud. HSI investigators learned the former Guatemalan cop failed to disclose on his visa application that he had been charged in his home country with kidnapping and murdering two political activists affiliated with the Agronomy Department at the Centro Universitario de Occidente in Quetzaltenango, according to ICE.

The charges came in 1987 after Valiente and others allegedly kidnapped two political activists and eventually murdered them. A Guatemalan court convicted Valiente on both counts and sentenced him to 30 years in prison for each. An appeals court overturned the conviction and remanded the case back to trial in 1993.

In July 1993, the court issued an arrest warrant for Valiente. The court renewed the warrant on two separate occasions but eventually rescinded it in 2015.

While the arrest warrant was still active, Valiente applied for a visa to move to the U.S.

Prosecutors allege that Valiente failed to disclose the murder charges and active warrant when he made the visa application.

Investigators assigned to the HSI’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF) and ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC). HSI Attaché in Guatemala City and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate also assisted in the investigation, officials stated.

If convicted, Valiente faces up to 10 years in a U.S. prison. He would likely be deported to Guatemala following the completion of any prison sentence.