Immigration board releases violent fugitive | Toronto & GTA | News | Toronto Sun
Immigration board releases violent fugitive
By Tom Godfrey ,Toronto Sun First posted: Thursday, August 25, 2011 05:24 PM EDT | Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011 05:35 PM EDT
Walter Ernesto Guzman
A violent fugitive who was nabbed after his mugshot appeared on a “most wanted” list has been released by an immigration board in a
decision that has outraged border agents and their political masters.
Walter Ernesto Guzman, 35, of El Salvador, surrendered to Montreal police last Friday after two years on the run and was handed over to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for deportation, officials said. Guzman was in Canada illegally after being convicted of serious offences that included drug trafficking, assault and uttering threats.
He appeared before an Immigration and Refugee Board on Wednesday and was ordered released on $3,000 cash bond with the condition that he report weekly to CBSA officials, board spokesman Robert Gervais said. Gervais said Guzman is no longer being detained and can’t be deported until the completion of his pre-removal risk assessment. The move to free Guzman, whose mugshot appeared on a list of 32 dangerous foreign criminals, has outraged Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. The minister ordered an investigation.
“(Toews) is extremely disappointed with the decision to release an individual who has been convicted of serious crimes and found to be inadmissible to Canada,” said Julie Carmichael, an aide to Toews. Carmichael said Toews has “asked his officials to thoroughly review this decision with a view to seeking judicial review at the earliest opportunity.”
Toews’ officials said the decision will likely be appealed to the Federal Court of Canada. Border agents warned Guzman — the subject of an intense manhunt — is violent and should not be allowed back on the streets. Guzman was among three suspects with lengthy criminal records who were arrested within 24-hours of their identities being posted online by CBSA officials. He is among 1,400 foreign criminals being sought for deportation in the Toronto area.
“It is very frustrating when officers risk their lives to arrest suspects and they are released,” said Ron Moran, president of the Customs and Immigration Union. “This sort of thing happens on a regular basis.” Moran said front-line officers have to work in dangerous situations to make arrests.
In addition to Guzman, police also arrested drug offender Reginald George King — also known as “Dee Dee,” 41, — who is facing deportation to Jamaica. They also nabbed Xun Ricky Zhang, 35, of China, who was ordered deported in 2005 after serving time for his role in a Toronto Ecstasy ring. The release of the list of criminals follows the success of a CBSA hunt for 30 people from abroad who are accused of war criminals. Canadian authorities arrested seven of them and deported four others after prodding by Sun Media to have the men publicly identified.