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Friday, June 04, 2004

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Suspect in 1995 slaying in Switzerland arrested in Detroit suburb

By ADRIENNE SCHWISOW
The Associated Press
6/3/2004, 5:21 p.m. ET


DETROIT (AP) — An illegal alien suspected in a 1995 slaying in Switzerland was in custody Thursday after being arrested in the Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights, authorities said.

Lon Markaj appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, where Magistrate Steven Pepe ordered him detained until a July 19 bond hearing. Swiss authorities have 60 days to present an extradition request to the U.S. government.

Markaj, whose age and hometown were not available, is charged with murder, assault and possession of an illegal weapon in the June 29, 1995 death of a man in Switzerland. Details of the homicide case were not immediately available.

Swiss authorities issued a warrant for Markaj's arrest in July 1995, and he used false documents to illegally enter the United States sometime in the late 1990s, said Brian M. Moskowitz, a special agent in the Detroit office of the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Swiss authorities went to the immigration bureau's newly opened office in Switzerland and asked for help in locating Markaj, who they said might be living in the Detroit area, Moskowitz said.

Federal agents, assisted by Sterling Heights police, located a man they believed to be Marjak living in the city 10 miles north of Detroit. After conducting surveillance and confirming his identity, agents went to Markaj's apartment Wednesday night and arrested him, Moskowitz said.

Authorities found a loaded handgun in Markaj's apartment, but he offered no resistance, the immigration agent said.

Martin Leaf, a Bingham Farms attorney representing Markaj, did not return a telephone message Thursday.

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