BANGKOK (AP) — Thai officials and rights groups say a former leader of an ethnic Hmong resistance group that fought for the U.S. in Laos during the Vietnam War has been deported to his homeland despite concerns that he will face persecution.

Thai Immigration Police officials said Wednesday that Moua Toua Ter was sent back to Laos on June 13 after being held in Bangkok since March. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information.

Moua Toua Ter was part of a CIA-backed Hmong guerrilla army that fought against communists in what was dubbed the “secret war.” After the communist takeover in 1975, he led a rag-tag band of Hmong resisters in the jungles of northern Laos. He fled to Thailand in 2006.