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For Immediate Release

Contact:
March 02, 2010 Dominic Guadagnoli, Public Affairs Officer
Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force (850) 554-6602
USMS Headquarters Public Affairs (202) 307-9065
U.S. Marshals and Local Officers Catch Rape Suspect in Car “Sting”
Niceville, FL – The U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested a man yesterday who is wanted for sexually battering an Okaloosa woman and held her in an apartment against her will last month. The alleged suspect, Alvaro Ignacio Abaunza, 40, of Crestview was arrested around 4 pm by Task Force members from the Okaloosa and Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Offices, Ft. Walton Beach and Defuniak Springs Police Departments, Florida Department of Law Enforcement along with assistance from Crestview Police Department. According to warrant reports, on February 21 in Okaloosa County Abaunza reportedly kidnapped and sexually battered the victim and had a weapon. Task Force investigators working with the above law enforcement agencies formulated a plan to lure Abaunza to a small car dealership located on the 200 Block of John Sims Parkway in Niceville; after they had learned that Abaunza had made a previous arrangement to sell a vehicle to an unknown man. The Task Force used an under cover officer from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office as the prospective buyer. Surveillance teams identified Abaunza standing in the back parking lot of the dealership. The under cover officer then got Abaunza’s attention and a Task Force takedown team moved in and took Abaunza into custody without incident. Abaunza has previous arrests and convictions for sexual battery, escape, robbery with a firearm and fraud. He was taken to the Okaloosa County Jail and booked with no bond.

The Pensacola Florida Regional Task Force made over 110 arrests last year in which about 40 of them were cases related to sex crimes.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.