A family member identified the suspect as Nadir Mikhail of Valley Center. According to court records, Mikhail was convicted of second degree murder in 1991 after shooting and killing a man outside a home in La Mesa.
Border Patrol Agent Shaun Kuzia said an immigration judge ordered Mikhail to be deported to Iraq following his release from prison in 1999.
But that didn't happen.
"His case remained open, pending his travel authorization,"said Agent Kuzia. "He was waiting for his travel to go through to get deported back to Iraq."
More than a decade later, Mikhail remained in the U.S. as a free man. Although, Kuzia said he was under "immigration supervision."
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, deporting Iraqi citizens back to Iraq is extremely difficult, in part because of the recent war.
"It's basically because of all of the political turmoil over the years," said ICE spokesperson Lauren Mack.
During the past decade, Mikhail allegedly committed at least two more crimes, Agent Kuzia said. In 2005, he was arrested in San Diego County for DUI.
It's unclear exactly why federal authorities weren't notified, but ICE spokesperson Lauren Mack said the sheriff's department did not have access to the federal immigration computer system at that time.
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department was given that access in 2009.
Last February, Mikhail was arrested in Chandler, AZ. and charged with distribution of marijuana, conspiracy and money laundering. Agent Kuzia said a judge also ordered him to be deported. But, once again, he wasn't.
On Monday, Border Patrol agents came across Mikhail during a traffic stop in Blythe, a small town in Riverside County. The agents did a background check and arrested him.
"He's going to remain in our custody until his deportation back to his country,"said Agent Kuzia.
It's unclear exactly when Mikhail will be deported.
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