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U.S. sends back Pinochet daughter

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Lucia Pinochet, pictured last year, was taken into custody in Washington after arriving on a plane from Argentina.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The eldest daughter of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet has been sent back to Argentina, two days after she arrived in the United States after fleeing tax charges in Chile, a U.S. Homeland Security official said.

Shortly after withdrawing her request for political asylum in the United States, Lucia Pinochet, 60, was sent to Argentina -- the last country she was in before coming to the United States.

"Lucia Pinochet is no longer in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security. She is returning, this evening, to the country of her last departure," said Russ Knocke, a spokesman for the department.

She had been held at the Arlington County detention facility, where her son met with her Friday evening.

There was no immediate word on when, or if, Lucia Pinochet planned to return to Chile, where she is wanted for allegedly evading thousands of dollars in taxes and using a false passport.

She and other family members were indicted Monday on charges of tax fraud, including failing to declare bank accounts overseas, and using false passports.

The tax fraud charges involve about $900,000. The government alleges that the Pinochet family helped hide the money.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials questioned Pinochet Wednesday after she arrived at Washington-Dulles International Airport from Argentina.

She was transferred Thursday to the custody of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security.

Besides Lucia Pinochet, those facing similar charges include three of her siblings -- Marco Antonio, Jacqueline and Veronica Pinochet; Augusto Pinochet's wife, Lucia Hiriart; a daughter-in-law; and Pinochet's personal secretary.

In addition, Pinochet's eldest son, Augusto, faces passport charges, while Marco Antonio Pinochet's wife, Monica Ananias, and Pinochet's personal secretary, Oscar Aitken, are charged with failing to declare a foreign bank account.

Pinochet, 90, is accused of stashing $27 million in bank accounts abroad during his 17-year rule. Hiriart already has been charged as an accomplice to tax evasion on her husband's behalf.

The general, who came to power in a U.S.-backed coup in 1973, is free. His attorneys argue he is too ill to stand trial on charges of financial crimes and human rights abuses.

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