Chihuahua officials seek extradition of border agent in the ’10 shooting death of teenager

May 4, 2012

El Paso Times on May 4, 2012 released the following:

“By Marisela Ortega Lozano and Aaron Bracamontes

Chihuahua’s governor on Thursday demanded that a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with murder in Juárez in the shooting death of a teenager on the banks of the Río Grande be sent to Mexico to stand trial.

The agent’s El Paso lawyer said that will not happen.

“He is a U.S. citizen, and he was an agent of the United States Border Patrol acting in his capacity,” said lawyer Randy Ortega. “I don’t believe there is any treaty or pact that would allow him to be extradited.”

On Thursday, Chihuahua Gov. César Duarte said he wants the agent, Jesus Mesa, extradited to answer for the death of Sergio Adrián Güereca, 15.

Mesa has been charged with murder by the Chihuahua officials and faces 20 to 25 years in prison if convicted.

“From here (Juárez), we demand that the Mexican government seek extradition of border patrol agent Jesus Mesa to be prosecuted in Chihuahua,” Duarte said in a news release. “We have enough evidence to put Mesa on trial here in Chihuahua.”

On June 7, 2010, Mesa was patrolling on a bicycle along the Rio Grande when he came upon a group of boys, who included Güereca. The boys were running up a concrete spillway of the Rio Grande and touching a chain-link fence on the U.S. side.

When Mesa took one of the boys into custody, the rest of the group allegedly began to throw rocks at the agent. Mesa then fired at the group, striking Güereca twice, once fatally in the head.

The incident was recorded on a cellphone and shown on Mexican television.

“Since the U.S. often claims human-rights alleged violations against their citizens abroad, that is enough for President Obama to surrender this agent,” Duarte said.

Duarte asked Mexican Interior Department Secretary Alejandro Poiré to demand extradition of Mesa. At this point, it’s not known whether Mexico has officially asked that the U.S. government hand Mesa over to Mexican authorities.

In recent years, Mexico has extradited to the United States many Mexican citizens who were wanted on drug-smuggling, murder and other charges.

“There will be justice” for Güereca, Duarte vowed. “Chihuahua’s government is starting this fight and we are going to make justice; there is already a warrant arrest against Mesa.”

However Mesa’s lawyer, Ortega, said he does not think his client will be extradited.

“I always believed they would do this in order to gain media publicity,” Ortega said. “I think it’s more a deflection tactic.”

Mesa has been cleared of any wrongdoing by U.S. authorities, including all civil and criminal charges, and he is no longer under investigation in the U.S.

If Mexico does ask for an extradition, Ortega said, he will work with the Justice Department, but he fully expects the extradition to be dismissed.

According to Chihuahua officials in Juárez, the boy’s mother, María Guadalupe Güereca, approached Duarte during a law and safety forum in Juárez and asked him to prosecute Mesa.

“I hope you can help us,” Güereca was quoted as saying in the news release. “I don’t want money, but justice for my son. I want the agent to be punished. My son was not a smuggler at all. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Alleged Guatemalan ‘drug lord’ Juan Ortiz Lopez faces US extradition

February 29, 2012

BBC on February 29, 2012 released the following:

“A Guatemalan court has approved the extradition to the US of Juan Ortiz Lopez, alleged to be one of Guatemala’s main drug traffickers.

Mr Ortiz, captured in March 2011 by US and Guatemalan agents, is accused of smuggling cocaine into the US.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina is stepping up efforts against organised crime.

He has ordered the army to join the fight but also called for the possible decriminalisation of drugs.

At the time of his arrest, Mr Ortiz was described by Guatemalan officials as a “big fish”.

A federal court in Florida has charged him with trafficking large amounts of cocaine into the US.

Mr Ortiz has said he is innocent and that he will appeal against the extradition ruling.

Guatemala is struggling against the growing influence of Mexican drugs cartels in large areas of the country.

Mr Perez Molina, a retired general, took office in January, promising an “iron fist” against crime.

But he has also urged a regional rethink on drugs policy.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Man charged in fatal ICE ambush

December 22, 2011

El Paso Times on December 22, 2011 released the following:

“By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times

A man accused of taking part in the Feb. 11 slaying of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent that also left a second ICE agent wounded was charged on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., after Mexico extradited him to the United States.

Julian “Piolin” Zapata Espinoza faces charges for his alleged role in the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata of Brownsville, and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila of El Paso.

“The extradition and charges filed against Zapata Espinoza is an important step in bringing Jaime and Victor’s alleged shooters to justice,” ICE Director John Morton said. “All of us at ICE are encouraged by today’s action and appreciate the unwavering work and support of all our law enforcement partners in this case.”

“The indictment unsealed today and the successful extradition of ‘Piolin’ to the United States reflect the Justice Department’s vigorous and determined efforts to seek justice for Agents Zapata and Avila,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners in Mexico to hold violent criminals accountable.”

On April 19, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a four-count indictment against Zapata Espinoza, charging him with one count of murder of an officer or employee of the United States, for the murder of Jaime Zapata; one count of attempted murder of an officer or employee of the United States; and one count of attempted murder of an internationally protected person, both for the attempted murder of Avila; and one count of using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.

Zapata Espinoza, who is being held without bond, appeared in U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth’s court and pleaded not guilty. His next appearance in court is scheduled for Jan. 25.

In a statement, the Mexican National Defense Secretariat said Mexican soldiers captured Zapata Espinoza on Feb. 23, along with other alleged members of the Zetas drug cartel.

Military officials said Zapata Espinoza “stated he was in charge of the group of gunmen that shot the U.S. agent, (and that) he said that this event was a mistake because they thought that the people in the (U.S. agents’) vehicle were members of an antagonistic (rival) group.”

U.S. officials said the two U.S. agents were traveling from a meeting in San Luis Potosi to Mexico City the day they were ambushed by a group of armed men.

Zapata, who began his law enforcement career with the Border Patrol, was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

Avila, the ICE agent who was shot twice in the leg, recovered from his wounds.

One of the charges is that Zapata Espinoza participated in the attempted murder of an “internationally protected person,” according to the indictment against him.

“He was apparently a U.S. federal agent that pursuant to international law had special protection,” said Douglas C. McNabb, a lawyer and senior principal with McNabb Associates PC, a global criminal defense firm with a website at www.mcnabbassociates.com.

Sheldon Snook, a deputy court clerk in the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., said the U.S. Attorneys Manual defines “internationally protected persons” based on U.S. legislation and United Nations conventions, including the Vienna Convention.

Such persons can include heads of state, diplomats and others that in this case the U.S. State Department has determined holds the status.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Mexico Extradites Flight Attendant Who Set Fire on U.S. Flight

August 5, 2011

Latin American Herald Tribune on August 4, 2011 released the following:

“MEXICO CITY – The Mexican Attorney General’s Office said Thursday it extradited a former flight attendant who had fled the United States after his arrest for setting fire to a plane’s bathroom.

Eder H. Rojas, a Mexican national, was wanted for extradition by a federal court in North Dakota for setting the fire 35 minutes after the Compass Airlines flight carrying 76 people took off in 2008 from Minneapolis bound for Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Rojas, then 19, another flight attendant and a passenger extinguished the blaze after the fire alarm sounded, but the plane still was forced make an emergency landing in the North Dakota city of Fargo.

After being questioned by FBI agents, Rojas confessed that he was upset with the airline for making him work the Minneapolis-Regina route and that was why he used a lighter to set fire to a packet of toilet paper in the plane’s bathroom.

Other flight crew members testified that Rojas had asked for an extra packet of toilet paper before the plane took off and that led investigators to suspect the Mexican, who eventually confessed.

After his arrest, the suspect escaped from a low-security detention facility and fled across the border into Mexico.

Rojas was subsequently arrested in Mexico by Federal Police officers and jailed in Mexico City, the AG’s office said in a statement.

The Mexican government extradited Rojas after he had exhausted all avenues of appeal and the suspect was handed over at the Mexico City airport to a group of U.S. Marshals, the AG’s office said.

Rojas faces up to 20 years in prison. EFE”

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Alleged Fugitive from Texas Arrested by AFI in Mexico; US Extradition Pending

July 19, 2010

Harris Dempsey “Butch” Ballow, 67, formerly of Galveston County, Texas, has been charged with conspiracy and wire fraud in a two-count indictment by a Houston grand jury, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Ballow was a fugitive from justice in the United States for more than five years until his arrest on Tuesday, July 13, 2010, by agents of the Mexican Agencia Federal de Investigaciones (AFI) working closely with the FBI pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant. Ballow remains in custody in Mexico City awaiting extradition to the United States.

Originally indicted in federal court in Houston in 2003 for fraud and money laundering centering on misrepresentations made in connection with the purchase and sale of stock, Ballow pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge David Hittner to money laundering in November. At the time, Ballow, who had been in custody without bond for approximately a year, agreed to cooperate with an Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and was released on a $100,000 bond pending his sentencing set for Dec. 16, 2004. However, facing 10 years imprisonment, Ballow failed to appear for the sentencing and fled the country. A warrant for Ballow’s arrest issued the next day, Dec. 17, 2004.

According to allegations in today’s indictment, Ballow lived under the names John Gel, Tom Brown and Marty Twinley during his time as a fugitive and also acquired a British passport in the name of Melvyn John Gelsthorpe. The indictment alleges Ballow used these names to take control of publicly-traded United States corporations, including E-SOL International Corp., Medra Corp., Deep Earth Resources Inc. and Aztec Technology Partners Inc.—now called Ultimate Lifestyles Corporation— and sold the stock to investors without revealing his true identity, his use of multiple names, his past convictions for fraud and money laundering and his status as fugitive from justice in the United States.

The indictment further alleged that Ballow moved to Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, in 2008, but disappeared in July 2009, just days after allegedly convincing an American investor from Texas to wire transfer $5 million to E-SOL in Reno, Nev. In October 2009, the indictment alleges Ballow reappeared in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he lived in a luxurious golf resort and was arrested by Mexican federal police on July 13, 2010.

An indictment merely contains allegations of unlawful violations. Individuals are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Colombian Drug Trafficker Extradited from Mexico to US

June 18, 2010

Pedro Antonio Bermudez, also known as “El Arquitecto,” was arraigned Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., following his extradition on June 15, 2010, from Mexico to the United States on charges of participating in an alleged international drug trafficking conspiracy, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the Eastern District of New York and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

At his arraignment yesterday, Bermudez was ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack in the Eastern District of New York. Bermudez was arrested in Mexico City by Mexican law enforcement officials on Oct. 2, 2008, and was in custody in Mexico since the arrest and prior to his extradition to the United States.

The charges against Bermudez are contained in two separate indictments filed in the Eastern District of New York and the District of Columbia. The indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York charges Bermudez with allegedly working in Mexico as the intermediary for shipments of large quantities of cocaine sent by Luis Hernando Gomez Bustamante, one of the leaders of the Norte Valle Cartel, to various Mexican cartel leaders. As alleged in the indictment, from 1990 through 2007, Bustamante and his organization sent multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico by speed boats, fishing vessels, and other maritime conveyances and airplanes, for ultimate delivery to the United States. Between 1990 and the present, the Norte del Valle Cartel allegedly exported more than 1.2 million pounds – or 500 metric tons – of cocaine, worth in excess of $10 billion, from Colombia to the United States, the vast majority of which moved through Mexico. Bustamante pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of New York on June 26, 2008, and is awaiting sentence.

When the cocaine arrived in Mexico, Bermudez was allegedly responsible for insuring its delivery to the Mexican cartels, including the Juarez Cartel, headed by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes. Carrillo is currently a fugitive and is charged in the Eastern District of New York with alleged drug trafficking. The Juarez Cartel, which operates in the Juarez-El Paso corridor, is one of the primary drug smuggling routes along the United States-Mexico border. The DEA estimates that approximately 70% of the cocaine which enters the United States through Mexico is transported across the southwest border. The State Department, under its Narcotics Rewards Program, has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the capture of Carrillo.

The indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charges Bermudez and co-defendant Andres Rodriguez-Fernandez with allegedly conspiring to manufacture and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine knowing and intending that the cocaine will be imported into the United States between on or about 2001 and Sept. 25, 2008. The indictment also includes two substantive counts, charging the defendants with manufacturing and distributing five kilograms or more of cocaine knowing and intending that the cocaine will be imported into the United States on two separate occasions, March 31 and Sept. 24, 2007. The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation.

On May 27, 2009, Bermudez was designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker. The designation freezes Bermudez’s assets in the United States and prohibits him from engaging in any financial transactions with any U.S. company or individual. Earlier this month, the government of Colombia seized 194 assets belonging to Bermudez, valued at approximately $76 million, including apartment buildings, malls, aircraft and ranches.

If convicted, Bermudez faces on both indictments a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life. The US worked with Mexican and Colombian officials to facilitate the investigation, arrest and extradition of Bermudez.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Washington Court Considers the Prejudicial Nature of the Legal Term “Extradition”

June 9, 2010

During Vincente Ruiz’s trial in Pasco, Washington, a retired Pasco detective testified Tuesday about the suspect’s extradition from Mexico. Ruiz’s lawyers are calling for an immediate end to the murder trial due to the highly prejudicial connotation jurors associate with the term “extradition.”

Henry Montelongo explained to jurors that in June 2007 he went with a Pasco police detective and an FBI agent to meet with other FBI and customs officials at the Los Angeles International Airport.

On Tuesday, when asked about the purpose for that meeting, Montelongo replied that the defendant had been apprehended, was in Mexican custody, and arrangements to extradite him back to the United States had been made.

Defense lawyer Kevin Holt immediately objected to the statement and, once the jury was taken out of the courtroom, asked for a mistrial.

Holt argued that use of the word extradition is highly prejudicial, and that a person who chooses to fight their extradition is exercising their constitutional right.

Deputy Prosecutor Frank Jenny contends that Montelongo said nothing about the legal process or whether Ruiz resisted extradition, and therefore the term “extradition” is not highly prejudicial.

Franklin County Judge Cameron Mitchell refused to declare a mistrial, but stopped court about 45 minutes early so defense attorneys could research case law and constitutional rights.

He scheduled an hour this morning so attorneys can further argue the issue before the trial starts again. The topic of Ruiz’s return from his native country has been discussed at length during court hearings in the last seven weeks.

Ruiz fought his extradition and sat in a Mexican prison for nearly nine months before being returned to the US to face five counts of aggravated first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.

Ruiz, 45, is accused of helping his cousin gun down six men inside the garage on Oct. 13, 1987.

The extradition treaty between the U.S. and Mexico permits extradition only when the evidence is sufficient, according to the laws of the requested party, either to justify the committal for trial of the person sought if the offense of which he has been accused had been committed in that place, or to prove that he is the person convicted by the courts of the requesting party.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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