Should I be Concerned About a Blue Notice?

The answer is, yes

Anytime INTERPOL is interested in you, there is sufficient cause for concern.  Note that I say concern, not panic. The subject of a Blue Notice may or may not be a suspect in a crime.  A Blue Notice is issued when INTERPOL grants a member country’s request for assistance with the following:

  • seeking the location of someone connected with a criminal investigation
  • identifying someone connected with a criminal investigation
  • finding witnesses to a criminal act, and
  • locating friends, relatives, or associates of offenders or suspected offenders

The difference between a Red Notice, our usual topic, and a Blue Notice, is that a Blue Notice can be issued prior to criminal charges being filed.  Red notices are concerned with persons who have been charged with or convicted of crimes.  If a person of interest has a known identity, INTERPOL can issue the Blue Notice in the person’s name, just as it did in the case of Frenchman Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes, who is being sought in connection with the investigation of his family’s death in April of this year. 

On the other hand, there are times when an offender is wanted, but his identity is unknown.  One such instance was in 2007, when INTERPOL launched an effort termed, Operation Vico, where it circulated a photograph of a man who was wanted for the sexual abuse of children based on widely circulated images on the internet.  Although the man’s identity was unknown, his face was known, and INTERPOL’s efforts led to his arrest 11 days later.  He was later sentenced to 19 years in Federal prison after entering a guilty plea.   

Michael ching mo yeung

Michael ching mo yeung

INTERPOL Red Notices – do they ever expire?

This question arises with some frequency, and with reason.  INTERPOL’s member countries circulate Red Notices for people who are wanted either to stand trial or to serve a sentence.  People who are the subjects of Red Notices naturally want to know when it is safe to travel without risking detention or extradition due to an old Red Notice.

Red Notices typically expire after five years.  However, they are subject to renewal if the INTERPOL member country that originally made the request advises INTERPOL that the notice should remain outstanding.  If a subject has not been apprehended after five years from the time the notice was originally issued, she should not assume that the notice no longer exists; it very may well be in effect.

In fact, some notices that should have been cancelled (due to the charges having been dropped, or the sentence having been served already, etc.) still remain in effect months or years later because the requesting member country fails to advise INTERPOL that the notice should be removed.

So the whole answer is that a Red Notice should be removed when its purpose has been served or no longer exists, or after five years, or longer if it’s renewed.

Michael ching mo yeung

Michael ching mo yeung

INTERPOL Red Notices and Immigration- Why a Red Notice might cause deportation or inadmissibility even when it does not lead to a criminal arrest

The case of Carmelo Bruzzese, who is wanted by Italian authorities as a Red Notice subject charged with Mafia association.

Although Bruzzese is living openly in Canada, Canadian authorities have never arrested him for the purpose of initiating extradition proceedings due to a lack of dual criminality of the criminal charges.

Even when a Red Notice subject is not extraditable, for whatever reason, the Red Notice still may serve as a catalyst for him or her to be removed from the country through immigration proceedings. In the case of Bruzzese, he has finally been arrested by Canada’s immigration authorities. He is scheduled to appear before the Immigration and Refugee Board for the purpose of determining whether Italy’s criminal charges should form the basis for Bruzzese’s deportation. If he is deported, he will likely be returned to his country of origin.

A Red Notice subject could also be deemed inadmissible to the country he seeks to enter legally. When a person is determined to be inadmissible, he is normally scheduled for removal from the country.

(Bruzzese is one of several alleged men affiliated with the Calabria-based Mafia organization called the ’Ndrangheta.  Its alleged members reportedly have been arrested this year in ItalyColombiathe Netherlands, and Germany.)