SAN YSIDRO, Calif. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers today repatriated two Mexican federal agents who had been in U.S. custody since last year on state charges after they were discovered in a Los Angeles-area residence with more than $600,000 in suspected drug money.
Carlos Alberto Cedano-Filippini, 35, a former commander for Mexico's Federal Agency of Investigations (AFI), and Victor Manuel Juarez-Cruz, 36, another AFI agent, were turned over by ICE to representatives from the Mexican Attorney General's Office (PGR) at the border crossing here this morning amid extraordinarily tight security.
The repatriation comes less than one week after the two former members of Mexico's elite federal law enforcement agency pleaded to state drug charges lodged against them last August by the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. Those charges stemmed from a task force investigation involving the Drug Enforcement Administration and Los Angeles Police Department. After entering their pleas April 1, the ex-AFI officers were sentenced to time served and remanded to the custody of ICE. Earlier today, members of ICE's Los Angeles Fugitive Alien Removal (FAR) Unit escorted Cedano and Juarez to the border, where officers from the PGR were waiting. ICE coordinated closely with its attaché office in Mexico City and the PGR on the arrangements for today's return.
ICE's Los Angeles-based Fugitive Alien Removal (FAR) Unit works closely with the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Southwest Regional Task Force to identify, locate and capture foreign fugitives who have fled to the United States in an attempt to escape justice in their native countries. In those instances where the fugitives are not lawfully present in the United States, ICE takes the subjects into custody on administrative immigration violations, paving the way for their return to their native countries.
"The return of these two former federal agents to their native country to face justice again shows how the United States is working with Mexico to combat the drug-related violence and crime in that nation," said Michael Phillips, acting field office director for ICE's Office of Detention and Removal Operations in Los Angeles. "As this Administration has said often in recent days, this is a homeland security issue in which we have a major stake. The Department of Homeland Security's goal in this instance is not only to see justice served, but to protect law abiding citizens on both sides of the border."
Since October 2007, officers with the ICE's FAR Unit, in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Service and the other agencies on the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, have captured 47 foreign nationals being sought in their native countries for serious crimes. More than half of those suspects were wanted on murder charges.
Editor's note: B-roll shot by ICE of the two former Mexican federal agents being repatriated at the border will be distributed later today via TELCO under a prior agreement with KABC-TV. KABC-TV will send out a media advisory on City News Service in advance of the video feed with further information. Digital photos of the repatriation are also available. To obtain copies, contact ICE public affairs at (949) 360-3096.