A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Wednesday gave a temporary reprieve to Rosario Gambino, a convicted heroin trafficker with alleged ties to the Gambino crime family who had been ordered deported to Italy.
A Los Angeles immigration attorney filed a petition with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after Immigration and Customs Enforcement tried to deport Gambino on Tuesday night. Gambino was returned to a detention facility in New Jersey because of health concerns, his attorney said.
The Board of Immigration Appeals ruled last week against Gambino, saying he failed to establish that he is likely to face torture if removed to Italy.
Gambino won a court ruling in September allowing him to stay in the country based on the United Nations Convention Against Torture. A judge determined that he probably would be arrested and locked up in a prison system designed to physically and psychologically compel criminals like him to reveal information about the Sicilian Mafia.
But Immigration and Customs Enforcement successfully appealed the decision.
Gambino served 22 years on a heroin trafficking conviction before being transferred to immigration custody in 2006. He denies any connection to organized crime, though testimony from this year's immigration trial revealed that the Italian government considers him a member of the Sicilian Mafia.
-- Anna Gorman