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Salvadoran Colonel Who Lived For Years In Everett Extradited To Spain In 1989 Jesuit Priest Murders

Inocente Orlando Montano (Courtesy U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)MoreCloseclosemore
Inocente Orlando Montano (Courtesy U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

A man who lived for years in Everett has been extradited to Spain and faces charges in connection with the 1989 murders of five Spanish Jesuit priests in El Salvador, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Inocente Orlando Montano Morales, a 74-year-old former colonel in the Salvadoran army, is one of 20 military officials indicted in Spain in the murders connected to the small South American nation's 10-year civil war, according to a statement released by the department.

Montano Morales, who also served as vice minister of defense and public safety during the conflict, lived in Everett for 10 years using his real name and working at a candy factory.

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In March of 2011, an arrest warrant for Montano Morales was issued by a Spanish magistrate judge, the statement said. Four years later, the Justice Department said it filed a complaint in a district court in North Carolina seeking his extradition to Spain.

The complaint alleged that, in addition to the five Spanish victims, three others — all Salvadorans — were among those murdered at the Universidad Centroamericana: another Jesuit priest, a housekeeper and the housekeeper's 16-year-old daughter, the statement said. A magistrate judge ruled in February 2016 that Montano Morales could be extradited.

The statement explains:

[Montano Morales] shared oversight responsibility over a government radio station that, days before the massacre, issued threats urging the murder of the Jesuit priests. The day before the murders, Montano also allegedly participated in a series of meetings during which one of his fellow officers gave the order to kill the leader of the Jesuits and leave no witnesses.

“Today’s extradition demonstrates our firm commitment to honoring our obligations under extradition treaties," Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan said in a statement. "As a result, an alleged human-rights violator will now face justice in Spain.”

Former Massachusetts Congressman Joseph Moakley, along with his then-aide, Congressman Jim McGovern, were part of an investigation in 1990 that concluded the Salvadoran army was responsible for the murders.

After being located in Everett by the civil rights group the Center for Justice and Accountability, Montano Morales was convicted in 2013 of immigration fraud and perjury for making false statements to immigration officials in order to stay in the U.S. with temporary protected status, the statement said. He served nearly two years in federal prison in North Carolina. He'd previously been granted temporary protected status to stay in the U.S. several times since 2002, but was found to have lied about the date he arrived in the U.S. to avoid being rejected as a TPS candidate.

With reporting from WBUR's David Boeri.

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Lisa Creamer Twitter Digital Producer
Lisa Creamer is a digital producer at WBUR.

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