A Southern California martial arts instructor suspected of being involved in a 1982 massacre during a civil war in Guatemala was arrested in Canada and is awaiting extradition to the U.S., it was reported Monday.
Suspect Jorge Sosa was arrested last week while visiting his parents in Alberta, Canada, the Riverside Press-Enterprise said.
Sosa, 52, was indicted in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana in September after authorities said he lied about his role in the civil war when he applied for U.S. citizenship in 2008.
Sosa was granted citizenship, but it was revoked after the grand jury indictment. He lives in Moreno Valley.
If convicted, Sosa could be sentenced to a maximum of 15 years in federal prison and would then be deported, Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles told the Los Angeles Times.
In Guatemala, Sosa was a member of a special military unit called the “Kaibiles” and was the commanding officer of a unit assigned to find and arrest guerrillas who had stolen military weapons, according to court documents.
On Dec. 7, 1982, he and several dozen soldiers stormed the village of Dos Erres, near Las Cruces, and systematically killed the men, women and children, the government claims in the indictment.
The unit is accused of slaughtering villagers with sledgehammers and throwing people into a well.