Man linked to priest slayings in El Salvador arrested

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 24, 2011 2:59 PM
Man linked to priest slayings in El Salvador arrested

BOSTON (Reuters) - A former Salvadoran military officer linked to the notorious killing of six Jesuit priests during El Salvador's vicious civil war was arrested on Tuesday, officials said.

Inocente Orlando Montano was taken into custody without incident by authorities, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Massachusetts.

Montano was charged in federal court with making false statements in an immigration application for temporary protected status, not related to the killings.

According to court documents, Montano repeatedly said he had no military training, had not served in the military and had not used weapons to threaten or harm others, according to court documents.

Montano, officials learned, served in the Armed Forces of El Salvador from 1963 to 1994 and retired as a colonel. He later held the post of Public Safety Vice-Minister while the country's military government was waging civil war, the criminal complaint said.

Montano has been linked to a gruesome killing of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her teenage daughter.

The group was killed at their home at a local university on November 16, 1989. The priests had been critics of the human rights abuses committed by the army during the 12-year civil war that ended in 1992.

Five of the priests were Spanish and one was from El Salvador.

In May, a Spanish court issued an indictment charging 20 former Salvadoran army officers with crimes against humanity for their role in the murders. Montano was named in the indictment, according to the criminal complaint.

Immigration officials in the United States had been monitoring Montano and had searched his Everett home, just north of Boston, earlier this month.

Montano appeared in federal court in Boston on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)