Four months to the day he was apprehended as he drove to his job as a manager of the Piggly-Wiggly, Josť Francisco “Poncho” Grijalva Monroy was deported to his home country of El Salvador on Friday for alleged human rights violations committed while he served in the Salvadoran army during that country's bloody civil war.
APALACHICOLA — Four months to the day he was apprehended as he drove to his job as a manager of the Piggly-Wiggly, José Francisco “Poncho” Grijalva Monroy was deported to his home country of El Salvador on Friday for alleged human rights violations committed while he served in the Salvadoran army during that country’s bloody civil war.
In a news release issued Friday, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the 49-year-old Monroy tortured suspected guerillas during his service.
Officers with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations were to turn him over to immigration authorities in El Salvador.
Ever since Monroy’s Feb 9 arrest by ICE officers, he had been held in detention in Wakulla County until a few days ago when he was relocated to Miami to board a flight to El Salvador.
Monroy had lived in Apalachicola for more than 20 years. He is married and has two sons.
According to court documents, Monroy testified that as a soldier he tortured guerrillas by hanging them by their hands from trees and slapping their chests with his hands.
The news release said Monroy also admitted that he tied suspected guerrillas to the back of an army Jeep and dragged them on the road until their skin came off.
“As this removal makes clear, ICE is working diligently to ensure our nation does not become a safe haven for human rights violators," said Marc J. Moore, director for the Miami Field Office of ERO.
After living in the United States under temporary protective status for more than a decade, an immigration judge with the Executive Office for Immigration Review ordered Monroy removed to El Salvador on Feb. 28, 2011. His appeal was dismissed by the Board of Immigration Review on Aug. 16, 2012.
The arrest of Monroy, a friendly face at the grocery store, was met with concern and confusion among Apalachicola residents. He was a longtime legal resident and active in youth soccer. On March 11, about two dozen people demonstrated on his behalf in front of the Capitol in Tallahassee.
His deportation clears up the speculation that his arrest was in some way connected to a 1997 arrest in Franklin County for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Following successful completion of a deferred prosecution agreement, prosecutors dropped the case.
The case was litigated by ICE’s Orlando Office of Chief Counsel with the support of the Human Rights Law Section and the Immigration Law and Practice Division and was supported by ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC).