DENVER - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) late on Friday deported a gang member wanted in Mexico for a 2009 murder and aggravated theft associated with the murder.
Ricardo Padilla-Chavez, 25, from Mexico, illegally re-entered the United States after ICE originally deported him on Jan. 30, 2007, as a convicted aggravated felon. He was convicted of felony burglary in Jefferson County, Colo., in August 2001, and was sentenced to serve 16 years in prison. Padilla-Chavez was paroled after serving only five years, and was turned over to ICE agents based on an ICE detainer.
ICE special agents and officers from Longmont Police Department arrested Padilla-Chavez on May 5. He was flown from Denver to Harlingen, Texas, on May 14. He was then transported to the Brownsville, Texas, port of entry and turned over to Mexican authorities at 8:30 p.m. at the border on the Matamoros Bridge.
"Working in partnership with many other law enforcement agencies, ICE agents used our unique law enforcement authorities to remove a convicted criminal alien and admitted gang member from our streets, and from our country," said John Longshore, field office director of the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations in Denver. "We prioritize our resources to target these criminal aliens who pose the greatest threat to public safety." Longshore oversees the states of Colorado and Wyoming.
ICE agents received the lead from the Colorado State Attorney General's Office on May 1 that Padilla-Chavez may be in the Longmont area living with his parents. The Colorado Attorney General's Office had received that information from Mexico's Attorney General's Office in Chihuahua, Mexico. Padilla-Chavez is wanted in Mexico for murdering a man in Chihuahua. Sergio Torres-Morales was reportedly murdered in April 2009 in a gang-style killing.
On March 29, 2008, the Guarantee Court of the District of Bravo, Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, issued an arrest warrant for Padilla-Chavez charging him with aggravated theft and aggravated homicide. According to the Mexican arrest warrant, on Feb. 3, 2008, Padilla-Chavez and an accomplice allegedly broke into Sergio Torres-Morales' home through a bathroom window, shot and killed him, and transported his body to the house of Padilla-Chavez's grandmother, where they buried the body. Padilla-Chavez then returned to the victim's home with multiple accomplices and stole furniture and other property from the home.
After learning of the arrest warrant, ICE agents had a Longmont, Colo., residence under surveillance when Padilla-Chavez exited. ICE agents contacted the Longmont Police Department which conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle Padilla-Chavez was a passenger in. He was arrested without incident, and his identity was confirmed through law enforcement database fingerprints, and by Padilla-Chavez himself.
Padilla-Chavez could have been charged with re-entering the United States after being deported. As an alien who was previously deported as an aggravated felon, he could have faced up to 20 years, if convicted. Instead, ICE reinstated his original deportation orders, and worked with the Attorney General's Office in Chihuahua, Mexico, to return him to Mexican authorities to face murder charges.