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A Salvadoran man wanted in his native country for sexually assaulting a child was removed Wednesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Melvy Edgardo Amaya, 32, was transferred to the custody of Salvadoran immigration officials by ERO officers at Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport in El Salvador. Amaya is named in an arrest warrant issued July 24, 2009, by a judge in San Salvador.

According to that warrant, Salvadoran authorities received a report March 7, 2009, about the alleged sexual assault of a 3-year-old girl. Amaya was staying at a residence where the girl lived with her mother. The woman told local law enforcement officials she saw her daughter leaving Amaya’s bedroom naked. Police interviewed the child several days later and she told them Amaya had forced her to touch his genitals.

Amaya entered ICE custody March 16 after U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested him near Simon, Arizona, for trying to illegally enter the United States. Department of Homeland Security databases indicate Amaya was issued an order of expedited removal, paving the way for his repatriation Wednesday.

“Amaya was a fugitive from justice and is suspected of committing a sexual assault on a 3-year-old child,” said Enrique Lucero, field office director for ERO Phoenix. “Taking him out of our community and placing him in the hands of law enforcement to face justice is a result of a combined ICE and international law enforcement partnership. Those found to have active warrants abroad will be turned over to the appropriate authorities.”

Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 1,700 foreign fugitives from the United States who were sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder.

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