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December 19, 2017Fort Worth, TX, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ICE detainee charged with 2007 Fort Worth murder

A 30-year-old Mexican national, Juan Eduardo Meraz-Flores, serving his third stint in federal prison for entering the United States illegally, has been charged with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a Fort Worth auto shop owner in 2007.

Meraz-Flores was serving a 30-month prison sentence when Fort Worth police received a tip of his possible involvement in the Jan. 31, 2007, shooting. A married father of three was shot in the head after an argument with a customer.

Meraz-Flores has a long criminal history dating back to May 2003 when he was arrested by Fort Worth Police for possession of marijuana, evading arrest and criminal mischief. Over the years, he has been arrested several times for crimes that range from criminal mischief to burglary.

His latest arrest was in July 2014 when he was apprehended by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas Operation Community Shied Taskforce (OCSTF) and Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) Gang Unit officers for reentering the United States illegally after being deported in February 2014. He had been deported previously in both October 2005 and November 2009.

“As law enforcement officers, we never know when the run-of-the mill immigration case will reveal a more significant criminal history,” said Bret Bradford, Field Office Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Dallas. “Fort Worth police were able to quickly find an accused murderer in federal custody because our ICE officers did their due diligence to present him for prosecution for re-entry. We’ll never know if their actions saved other lives in this case, but there’s no doubt they helped — and continue to help — prevent crimes.”

HSI OCSTF and FWPD Gang Unit Officers work together as part of Operation Community Shield, a national initiative in which law enforcement officials conduct gang enforcement operations targeting violent street gangs.

The Star-Telegram recently highlighted Muñoz’s unsolved murder in its “Out of the Cold” podcast, which explores solved and unsolved cold cases in North Texas. The story was originally reported in the Star-Telegram