A MAN wanted in the North East in connection with the rape of a woman more than 20 years ago is facing extradition from his Pacific island retreat.
US Marshals arrested Salvador Orozco after executing a warrant at an address in the popular tourist destination of Hawaii, more than 7,500 miles from the North East.
The 48-year-old is wanted in connection with an incident on May 17, 1990, when a woman was attacked on the way home from her work as a barmaid.
Officials from the United States Department of Justice have now begun the process of extraditing him from the island of Maui to the United Kingdom with an application to the courts to set a date for a hearing.
The search that culminated in the arrest was launched following the late-night attack on the woman as she made her way along Askew Road in Gateshead.
She was dragged into a deserted yard and subjected to a horrific assault during which the attacker told her: “My name is Sushi. I’m Japanese.”
A Home Office spokesman in London yesterday confirmed it was waiting for officials in the US to return the suspect to England for questioning.
“We can confirm Salvador Orozco was arrested on February 7 in Hawaii on a UK extradition warrant,” the spokesman said.
“He is wanted for alleged sexual offences dating back to 1990. The extradition process is now a matter for the US authorities.”
Orozco is alleged to have eluded authorities for more than two decades after fleeing the UK and heading first to North America and then to the US state of Hawaii. In July last year, British Embassy officials contacted the US Justice Department in an effort to locate, arrest and extradite him to the UK.
A unit from the Hawaii Fugitive Task Force, which includes the Maui Police Department, was acting on intelligence received when it staged the raid last week.
Police in Hawaii told The Journal that Orozco was wanted by the authorities in Newcastle in connection with one count of rape, one count of indecent assault and one other sexual offence.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said there is an “ongoing investigation” into the incident and that its officers are expected to be involved in any further action.
He said: “We can confirm that an investigation is ongoing into the rape of a woman in Gateshead on May 17, 1990.
“We’ve been made aware that an arrest has been made in connection with the inquiry.”
Orozco was arrested “without incident” at around 9pm last Thursday at a property on Puunene Avenue, in the isolated Kahului area of Maui, an island in the Hawaii archipelago, police in the US state confirmed.
The arrest came after law-enforcement agencies followed his tracks from mainland USA to the islands.
NOBODY HELD ACCOUNTABLE DESPITE POLICE APPEAL
AN APPEAL for witnesses was launched by detectives following the rape in a train yard next to a Gateshead garage in May 1990.
No one has ever been held accountable, despite the police releasing an artist’s impression and slowly revealing harrowing details of the assault.
Officers said that as he raped his victim, the attacker used Mediterranean and Chinese accents in a calculated bid to disguise his voice.
The 20-year-old barmaid, from Gateshead, was dragged into a deserted yard as she made her way home from work.
Her attacker, who she had met as she waited for a bus at the Gateshead Central Bus Station, followed her before ambushing her from behind.