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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 30, 2019

Guatemalan National Wanted for Crimes Against Humanity Pleads Guilty to Illegal Reentry

Defendant wanted in Guatemala for participating in mass sexual assault of indigenous women

BOSTON – A Guatemalan national wanted for his role in the 1980s massacre of indigenous Guatemalans pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston.  

Francisco Cuxum Alvarado, a/k/a Francisco Cuxun-Alvarado, 64, pleaded guilty to one count of illegal reentry into the United States. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani scheduled sentencing for Dec. 20, 2019. On May 29, 2019, Cuxum Alvarado was indicted and has been detained since that time.  

According court documents, beginning in the early 1980s, there were a series of attacks committed against the indigenous Maya Achi people of Rio Negro, in and around the municipality of Rabinal, in Guatemala. During these massacres, Guatemalan armed forces assisted by civilian militias known as the Civil Defense Patrols (PACs), forcibly removed the Maya Achi from Rio Negro and attacked and killed hundreds of them. More than 400 Maya Achi people were killed in the Rio Negro massacres and hundreds of others were forcibly removed from their homes. In addition to the murders, there were mass sexual assaults carried out against Achi-Mayan women.

Cuxum Alvarado was a member of the PAC in Rabinal, and in 1998, was named as a suspect in the March 13, 1982, massacre of women and children at Cerro Pacoxom. In 2018, the Guatemalan government charged Cuxum Alvarado with crimes against humanity for participating in the mass sexual assault of Maya Achi women in and around Rabinal. In connection with the charges, the Guatemalan government obtained an INTERPOL Red Notice for Cuxum Alvarado’s arrest, which is a request to law enforcement agencies worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest suspects pending extradition to the jurisdiction in which they are charged. Cuxum Alvarado will be subject to extradition to Guatemala following any sentence imposed.

On April 30, 2019, Cuxum Alvarado was located in Waltham and arrested. During a subsequent interview with law enforcement, Cuxum Alvarado admitted that he was a member of the Rabinal PAC. At the time of his arrest, Cuxum Alvarado was unlawfully in the United States. He previously unlawfully entered the country in March 2004 in Arizona, and was ordered to be removed. 

The charging statute provides for a sentence of up to two years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The defendant will be subject to deportation upon completion of any sentence imposed. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Jason Molina, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigation in Boston made the announcement today. The Waltham Police Department and the HSI Attaché in Guatemala City, Guatemala assisted in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney George P. Varghese of Lelling’s National Security Unit is prosecuting the case.

 

Topic(s): 
Hate Crimes
Component(s): 
Updated September 30, 2019