When clients or attorneys ask me what an INTERPOL Red Notice is, I often answer that it’s similar to what we would call a BOLO in the United States.  A BOLO, or Be On the Lookout, is an announcement dissiminated to law enforcement officials that describes a criminal suspect in an effort to have him or her apprehended quickly after a crime has occurred.

Similarly, a Red Notice is a request issued by INTERPOL on behalf of any of its 190 member countries, and its goal is to apprehend a criminal suspect or convict who has fled to another country.  

One difference between a BOLO and a Red Notice is that the BOLO is intended to be dissiminated in the time immediately following a crime, with little expectation that the BOLO will remain active for much time afterwards if the suspect is not apprehended.  A Red Notice, on the other hand, can remain active for years, as long as certain of INTERPOL’s criteria are met.

A man from El Salvador recently felt the effect of Red Notice’s longevity when he was deported from the United States to El Salvador for a crime alleged to have been committed in 1999.  His Red Notice caused United States immigration officials to learn about his wanted status all these years later, as reported here by Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle.

As always, comments and thoughts are welcomed.