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U.S. returns stolen Virgin Mary tapestry to Spain

A 16th century religious tapestry stolen from a Spanish cathedral in 1979 and sold at auction three years ago for $369,000 was returned to Spain on Wednesday by the US customs service. In a statement, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said special agents from its Homeland Security Investigations unit…

Iranian released from U.S. prison to be deported: official

WASHINGTON — An Iranian whose release reportedly had been sought by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is undergoing deportation proceedings after serving a five year prison sentence for arms smuggling, a US official said Tuesday. Amir Hossein Ardebili, who was arrested in October 2007 in the Republic of Georgia and extradited…

New drug tunnel found under U.S.-Mexico border

LOS ANGELES — US authorities announced Wednesday they had uncovered a “major” drug-smuggling tunnel under the US-Mexico border, the latest such find on the troubled frontier. US and Mexican officers seized at least 14 tons of marijuana and arrested two people linked to the “sophisticated” tunnel, which linked warehouses in…

U.S. expects record number of deportations in 2011

WASHINGTON — The United States this year will deport a record number of undocumented aliens who are convicted criminals, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday. Last year the US government deported a record 390,000 undocumented aliens, including 195,000 with a criminal background, and were even higher in the next…

Exclusive: Legalization activists slam Obama’s renewed commitment to drug war

WASHINGTON – The pro-legalization group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition fretted that President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon were embarking on a counterproductive mission after the two pledged “renewed cooperation” on the drug war Thursday. “Legalization is the only way to end the cartel violence, just like ending alcohol…

US customs agent shot dead in Mexico

WASHINGTON – A US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was shot and killed “in the line of duty” in Mexico and a second was wounded in the attack by “unknown assailants,” a top US official said. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she was “deeply saddened by the news” that…

Deportations of illegal immigrants at record levels: US

WASHINGTON — The United States deported a record 392,000 illegal immigrants over the past year, nearly half of them people with criminal convictions, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday. The number deported during the 2010 fiscal year ending September 30 surpassed the record of 389,000 deportations set the previous…

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