Photo: Swami Saraswati, believed to be hiding in Mexico border town Nuevo Laredo
In 2008, Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, was arrested, and subsequently convicted of molesting children, bit two days after the ruling he disappeared. U.S. Marshals now believe he hiding out in Nuevo Laredo, on the Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I really think we’ve got him landlocked now,” said supervising deputy marshal Hector Gomez of the Austin U.S. Marshals’ office.
Known to his followers as Shree Swamiji, the Hindu leader was arrested in April 2008 after an investigation conducted by the Hay’s County Sheriff’s Office resulted in a multiple-count indictment alleging he committed indecent acts with two children from 1993 to 1996. The leader of the Barsana Dham ashram in Driftwood was convicted on 20 counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact, but disappeared two days after being convicted.
Though Gomez would not say why they Sarawati is in the border town, he did say it is believed Sarawati left the country “with loads of cash,” presumably to bribe a pilot to fly him out of Mexico, and likely to India. Sarawati’s passport was confiscated prior to his trial.
Mexico and the U.S. have an extradition treaty, and Gomez said that, should the guru be arrested in Mexico, he would likely be returned to the U.S., and Mexico would leave him with no legal status to stay in the country after being labeled an “undesirable alien.”
Federal officials have evidence the guru had help fleeing the country, and Gomez said he expects new charges to be filed against devotees who assisted Sarawati.
“When it’s all said and done, we’re going to catch a lot of people in a lot of lies.”