A man suspected of committing a 2009 murder in the Rampart District was returned to the United States from Guatemala on Aug. 1 by the FBI’s Los Angeles Fugitive Task Force.
Deirdre Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck announced the extradition of Werner Rafael Francisco, 35. The suspect, a Guatemalan citizen also known as “Blue,” allegedly shot and killed a 46-year-old tamale vendor in the Rampart District in 2009. Francisco, a suspected member of a Los Angeles street gang, had allegedly been extorting a tax from the victim and others at the time.
Los Angeles Police Department investigators identified Francisco as a suspect shortly after the murder. On March 3, 2009, a felony warrant was issued for Francisco. Detectives determined he fled the country.
When authorities learned about Francisco’s general location in Guatemala, a provisional arrest warrant was issued on that country in July 2011. In 2012, the Fugitive Task Force was asked to assist detectives in locating Francisco and on Nov. 27, 2013, Francisco was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution in a federal criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
Francisco was arrested by the Guatemalan Transnational Anti-Gang Unit (TAG) on Feb. 15 in a very remote part of the country. The Guatemalan government recently surrendered Francisco for extradition.
FBI agents and LAPD officers escorted Francisco back to the United States on Aug. 1. He will be prosecuted by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.