NEW ORLEANS — A former Albanian Secret Service agent convicted of murdering his girlfriend and her mother in Albania was removed from the United States Wednesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Marjan Rroku, 40, was convicted in absentia of double murder and sentenced to life in prison by an Albanian court May 2, 2002. According to court documents, Rroku used his service weapon to murder his 16-year-old girlfriend and her mother March 29, 2001. Rroku subsequently fled Albania and entered the United States as a tourist June 9, 2001, under a false name in Miami.
Rroku's case was covered multiple times on the national television show 'America's Most Wanted' beginning in 2006 until he was located and arrested Sept. 10, 2010, in Queens, New York, during a joint operation by ERO and the U.S. Marshalls. Rroku then filed for asylum, which was rejected. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed his final appeal June 5, 2013.
"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will continue to focus resources on violent criminals and other high-priority aliens who pose the greatest threat to our communities," said ERO New Orleans Acting Field Office Director Michael W. Meade. "This removal shows that these individuals will not be allowed to use the United States as a haven to avoid criminal prosecution in their home country."
Rroku was removed by ERO officers via an ICE Air Operations charter aircraft Wednesday from Alexandria International Airport in Alexandria to Tirana, Albania. From there, ERO officers transferred Rroku into Albanian law enforcement custody Thursday.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 720 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being 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 Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.
Since 2006, ICE Air Operations, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., has supported ERO by providing mass air transportation and removal coordination services to ERO field offices nationwide. Staffed by ERO officers, these air charters enable the agency to repatriate large groups of deportees in an efficient, expeditious and humane manner.
In fiscal year 2013, ICE conducted 368,644 removals nationwide. Nearly 60 percent of ICE's total removals had been previously convicted of a criminal offense; 82 percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a criminal offense.
Other than convicted criminals, the agency's enforcement priorities include those apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, illegal re-entrants – individuals who returned to the United States after being previously removed by ICE – and immigration fugitives. In fiscal year 2013, 98 percent of ICE removals met these priorities – a record high.