Longtime American Fugitive Is Arrested Selling Time Shares at Airport in Mexico

July 16, 2012

The New York Times on July 15, 2012 released the following:

“By MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ

When he fled the United States over two decades ago, Vincent Legrend Walters was considered a violent drug dealer, accused of killing a woman in a botched kidnapping before vanishing, presumably with a small fortune.

But when agents from the United States Marshals Service last week tracked down Mr. Walters, who was on their list of the 15 most wanted fugitives, they were surprised to find him in a more sedate career: selling time shares to tourists in the Mexican resort town of Cancún.

“We were under the impression that he left with a good amount of money and thought he would have stayed in the illegal drug trade,” Steve Jurman, a spokesman for the Marshals Service, said by telephone on Sunday. “Now it appears that he had to work for a living.”

At the behest of the Marshals Service, Mexican police officials took Mr. Walters, 45, into custody on Friday after a fingerprint analysis determined that he was the man federal agents had been seeking since September 1988. He was arrested at his workplace at Cancún International Airport.

It was an ignominious ending for Mr. Walters, who seemed to have an uncanny ability to elude detection even in plain sight. Only fugitives whose cases are under heightened scrutiny appear on the Marshals Service’s most wanted list, and Mr. Walters holds the record for being on the list longer than anyone else, Mr. Jurman said.

Mr. Walters, who was born in Mexico but grew up in California, was living in the San Diego area when he became mired in a dispute with other drug dealers over a cache of methamphetamine, according to the Marshals Service.

He had already appeared on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s radar, the Marshals Service said in a statement, for reportedly buying $20,000 worth of chemicals to make methamphetamine and then, unbeknown to him, entering into negotiations with undercover agents for more supplies.

The year was 1988. An associate of Mr. Walters, fearing arrest, gave his supply of finished methamphetamine to another dealer, who then passed it on to someone else.

Mr. Walters, though, wanted the drugs back, the statement said.

The Marshals Service said Mr. Walters kidnapped the dealer who initially passed on the drugs, a friend of the dealer and the friend’s girlfriend, a woman named Christina Reyes, and he offered to exchange them for the drugs, which were being held by a man named Jay Bareno.

Mr. Bareno agreed to the exchange and returned the drugs, the statement said. The two men were released, but Ms. Reyes died after she was gagged with a rag soaked in chemicals.

Mr. Walters disappeared after the episode.

It is unclear how he was able to escape, especially since he was already under surveillance.

His brother, Martin Walters, was arrested almost immediately and was eventually convicted of participating in the kidnapping. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

In July 1989, a federal grand jury indicted Vincent Walters on conspiracy to manufacture, possess and distribute crystal methamphetamine, carrying firearms during a drug trafficking crime and possession of unregistered firearms and explosives.

His mother, Martha Walters, and her sister, Carmen Elenes-Fonseca, were sentenced to 37 months in prison in 1990 for trying to hire a hit man to kill two witnesses in the case against the Walters brothers, according to The San Diego Evening Tribune.

Information detailing how the authorities were able to track down Mr. Walters remains classified, said Mr. Jurman, the Marshals Service spokesman. He said investigators were working to piece together the last 24 years of Mr. Walters’s life, trying to determine, for instance, whether he was ever again involved in the drug trade.

The Marshals Service said in its statement that Mr. Walters had bragged to others that he was a wanted fugitive in the United States. The authorities said he was living under the name Oscar Rivera and working out of a stall in the Cancún airport. A spokesperson for the airport could not be reached for comment.

The authorities in Mexico have transferred Mr. Walters to Mexico City, where he will undergo extradition procedures that are required because he is a Mexican citizen.

Given the horrendous violence associated with the Mexican drug trade these days and the seemingly intractable war with trafficking organizations, Mr. Walters’s crimes seem like a throwback to a bygone era. Nevertheless, federal authorities described his arrest as a victory.

“The U.S. Marshals are thrilled with the capture of this violent fugitive,” Steven Stafford, federal marshal for the Southern District of California, said in a statement. “This is a prime example of the sheer determination and persistence we have when tracking down a wanted criminal.””

————————————————————–

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.

————————————————————–

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.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

Email:


Durbin Asks State Department To Update US-Mexico Extradition Treaty

March 28, 2012

ENews Park Forest on March 27, 2012 released the following:

Senator asks for renegotiation of two provisions to help bring more international fugitives to justice in the United States

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–March 27, 2012. In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today asked the State Department to work with its Mexican counterpart to modify two outdated provisions of the U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty to allow more international fugitives to be brought to justice in the United States.

“Given that the original treaty was executed over 30 years ago and only one protocol has been executed since then, the time is well overdue for the U.S. and Mexico to renegotiate and update the treaty,” Durbin wrote. “While Mexico has made great strides in improving its extradition process and has proven to be a cooperative partner, the structural issues with the treaty still restrict extradition in serious criminal cases. Because the treaty is the primary tool to bring back international fugitives, we need to ensure that it encompasses the current realities and obstacles to extradition.”

Durbin identified two provisions in the U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty – entered into force in 1980 – that he believes have allowed criminal suspects from Illinois and other states to escape to Mexico and remain free. These changes would be consistent with other more recently negotiated extradition treaties.

Statute of Limitations – The current treaty requires that the statute of limitations for both countries be satisfied, but the United States and Mexico have vastly different statutes of limitations for certain serious crimes. For example, there is no statute of limitations in the United States for murder charges, but Mexico has a 13-year limit. The U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty should be renegotiated to use the same statute of limitations provision that has been used in our nation’s more recent extradition treaties which does not bar extradition based on the statute of limitations of the requested country.

List of Extraditable Crimes – The current treaty’s dual criminality provision requires that extraditable offenses either be listed in the treaty or fall within the definition of a “willful” felony criminal offense in both countries. This provision excludes many serious crimes. For example, the killing of another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs does not fit into either category, so individuals charged in the United States with reckless homicide or aggravated driving under the influence cannot be extradited. The U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty should be renegotiated to define extraditable offenses as those which are deemed felonies in both countries similar to the provision in more recently negotiated extradition treaties.

Earlier this month, Durbin introduced legislation to devote additional federal resources to investigating, apprehending, extraditing and prosecuting fugitives suspected of committing serious crimes. Durbin’s Bringing Fugitives to Justice Act would enhance resources for fugitive apprehension efforts by directing appearance and bail bonds that are forfeited in federal criminal cases to a Fugitive Extradition and Apprehension Trust Fund. The bill is the most recent action taken by Durbin in response to a Chicago Tribune investigative series that raised concerns about the fugitive apprehension process.

[A copy of the letter is below]

March 27, 2012

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

I am writing to ask that the State Department work with its Mexican counterpart to modify two outdated provisions of the U.S.-Mexico Extradition Treaty (the “Treaty”), which entered into force in 1980. These provisions, which limit extradition to cases that satisfy Mexico’s statute of limitations and fall within a narrow list of crimes, have allowed criminal suspects from Illinois and other states to escape to Mexico and remain free.

Given that the original Treaty was executed over 30 years ago and only one protocol has been executed since then, the time is well overdue for the U.S. and Mexico to renegotiate and update the Treaty. While Mexico has made great strides in improving its extradition process and has proven to be a cooperative partner, the structural issues with the Treaty still restrict extradition in serious criminal cases. Because the Treaty is the primary tool to bring back international fugitives, we need to ensure that it encompasses the current realities and obstacles to extradition.

As you are probably aware, the Treaty requires that the statute of limitations for both the charging jurisdiction in the U.S. and Mexico be satisfied. Currently, there is no statute of limitations in the U.S. for murder charges, but Mexico has a 13-year limit, which risks foreclosing extradition in some of the most brutal murder cases. In contrast, our nation’s recent extradition treaties do not bar extradition based on the statute of limitations of the requested country. See e.g., Extradition Treaty with United Kingdom, art. 6, entered into force April 26, 2007; Extradition Treaty with Bulgaria, art. 6, entered into force May 21, 2009. Because the U.S. and Mexico have vastly different statutes of limitations for certain serious crimes, the Treaty should be renegotiated to use this modern statute of limitations provision instead. These cases should not be barred from extradition, and I urge the State Department to address this issue.

In addition, the Treaty’s dual criminality provision requires that extraditable offenses either be listed in the Treaty or fall within the definition of a “willful” felony criminal offense in both countries. As I understand it, the killing of another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs does not fit into either category, so individuals charged in the U.S. with reckless homicide or aggravated driving under the influence cannot be extradited. In contrast, our recent extradition treaties define extraditable offenses as those which are deemed felonies in both countries. U.S.-U.K. Treaty, art. 2; U.S.-Bulgaria Treaty art. 2; Extradition Treaty with Malaysia, art. 2, entered into force June 2, 1997. This modern version is broader and should replace the existing provision in the Treaty, and I ask that you raise this issue with the Mexican government.

Thank you for considering this request. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Durbin

United States Senator

cc: Attorney General Eric Holder”

————————————————————–

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.

————————————————————–

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 C. 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.

Bookmark and Share


U.S. – Mexico Extradition Treaty may mean No Death Penalty for Simon Lopez

August 3, 2011

Simon Lopez, charged in Smith County, Texas with the beating death of his girlfriend’s one-year-old son, may not face the death penalty.

Smith County district attorney Matt Bingham says he’s not sure yet if his office will seek the death penalty for Lopez, who is charged with capital murder in connection with the November 2010 death. Bingham says he’s still looking into the parameters of a U.S. – Mexico extradition treaty which limits the use of the death penalty against defendants extradited to the United States from Mexico.

Lopez was arrested last week in Mexico after months on the run and brought back to Smith County to face charges. He was arraigned Monday on a capital murder charge and remains in the Smith County Jail on a bond of $2 million.

This article was written by Catherine Khalil and published by KYTX on August 2, 2011.

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.

Bookmark and Share