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Restaurant Owner Is Deported to Eritrea

IN BRIEF: Los Angeles County / LOS ANGELES

September 16, 2005|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A local restaurant owner convicted of robbing two Canadian banks in the 1970s has been deported to Eritrea, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Thursday.

Berhe Mahrai, 56, who ran two liquor stores and an Ethiopian restaurant, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in February after a computer background check. Officials believe he may have been a member of an insurgent group fighting for Eritrea's independence and may have robbed the banks to raise funds for the organization.

He served time in Canada and was deported to Ethiopia in 1976 but came to the U.S. in the 1980s.

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