LETHBRIDGE: Regional police say they've now ended their involvement with the case of an accused war criminal they arrested in the city, but the case that crosses international lines continues in Southern Alberta.
Jorge Vinicio Orantes Sosa, 52, is wanted in the US for allegedly making false statements about his citizenship, and scheduled to set an extradition hearing in Calgary court tomorrow. He's also accused of taking part in a series of 1982 war crime attacks in Guatemala that killed 152 people.
Members from three regional police units arrested Sosa - known to be a martial arts expert - before noon Tuesday on a quiet residential street in south Lethbridge. The spot was a few doors down from Sosa's sister Maria Sosa's home.
Sosa's 22-year-old nephew Manuel told Country 95 News his family is still shocked by the allegations against his uncle, who has legal citizenship in both Canada and the US.
"We still don't know much about what's going on," said Manuel, whose Lethbridge family has yet to release a formal statement. "I just want people to know he's a good person."
Sosa is one of four Guatemalan immigrants accused of lying in order to obtain US citizenship.
They lived openly and quietly in the US for years before Guatemalan authorities identified them as former members of an elite military force that killed more than 100 civilians in a particularly bloody episode of the Guatemalan civil war in 1982.
US agencies launched a manhunt in 2010 for the accused. But there are few answers as to why Canadian police didn't receive an order to arrest Sosa until last fall.
Staff Sergeant Wes Houston is a spokesperson for Lethbridge Regional Police.
"We got the order in October, when we were asked to locate him," says Houston. "Why the urgency, why now, why not five or 10 years ago - I have no idea."
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Florida has confirmed a second man accused of lying about his involvement in Guatemalan war crimes to gain US entry was found guilty last September. Gilberto Jordan, 54, was found guilty of naturalization charges, stripped him of his citizenship and sentenced him to 10 years in federal prison.
Photo Country 95 News: Staff Sergeant Wes Houston addresses reporters in Lethbridge Wednesday.
Marion Warnica has been following the story, and has further details on Sosa's alleged past from US court documents released to Country 95.
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