A Forest Lake taxi business owner and wanted war criminal will be deported, a U.S. District Court judge decided Thursday.
Zdenko Jakiša, 47, is wanted in Bosnia for crimes committed in the 1990s during the Bosnian War. Jakiša and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1998.
Federal Judge Susan Richard Nelson gave Jakiša until Tuesday to turn himself in to Homeland Security Investigations unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement..
Jakiša pleaded guilty in July 2015 to lying on immigration forms more than a decade ago when applying for refugee status and his green card, according to court documents. In the applications, Jakiša denied his involvement with the HVO, a notorious military group that fought against the Bosnian Serbs.
In 1993, Jakiša killed his neighbor, Nevenka Elezovic, a 62-year-old Serbian woman, by firing an AK-47 through her bedroom window in his hometown, Capljina, according to the Homeland Security Investigations. He was convicted in absentia five years later but had acquired Croatian citizenship by that time, according to court records.
Before moving to the United States, Jakiša was also convicted of two misdemeanor counts of disturbing the peace and one count of inflicting grievous bodily damage, according to the investigation.
Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security office in St. Paul, said that after years of investigation, the process of deportation will move quickly.
“Human rights violation cases — cases like this — can be difficult to investigate,” Neudauer said. “Sometimes the facts come to light a lot further down the road. The Bosnian Conflict was in the 1990s, and now here we are in 2016.”
Since moving to Minnesota, Jakiša has been convicted several times for driving while impaired, as well as for disorderly conduct and obstructing legal process. Court documents also note that Jakiša has threatened to kill his probation officer and a bouncer at a bar.
Jakiša is considered a “public safety risk” by the state, court documents said.
Zoë Peterson is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.