SAN DIEGO - Two Mexican brothers wanted in their native country for a murder three years ago were turned over to Mexican law enforcement officials at the San Ysidro border crossing here Friday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, four days after their capture in Monterey County.
Miguel Mendoza-Sarabia, 33, and Alonso Mendoza-Sarabia, 25, were transferred to the custody of representatives from the Mexican Attorney General's Office by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers. Mexican authorities allege the brothers gunned down Heraclio Soto Felix in the streets of the Sinaloan community of Nuevo Mundo on May 11, 2008, as he walked home from a Mother's Day gathering.
Several witnesses observed the shooting. The motive for the killing is still unknown.
The brothers' repatriation to Mexico follows their arrest April 18 on a ranch south of King City, Calif. The men were taken into custody on administrative immigration violations by special agents from ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Marshals Service and detectives with the Monterey County Sheriff's Office. The brothers' capture came after Mexican authorities alerted the U.S. Marshals Service about the fugitives' possible whereabouts. The brothers, who entered the United States illegally, agreed to accept a voluntary return to Mexico, paving the way for their repatriation Friday morning.
"Today's repatriation is a direct result of the outstanding collaboration between local and federal law enforcement working closely with our counterparts in Mexico," said Joseph Vincent, assistant special agent in charge for the San Jose Office of ICE HSI. "These men are suspected of a cold blooded slaying and there's a real risk they could kill again. ICE will continue to use its unique immigration enforcement authorities to protect our communities from aliens who pose a threat to public safety."
Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller acknowledged the hard work and perseverance by members of his office who, aided by new technology and databases, were able to identify and locate these suspects, and to ultimately work collaboratively with ICE HSI and the U.S. Marshals Service to bring them to justice.
Friday's return of the two Mexican murder suspects comes less than two weeks after ICE's repatriation of another high-profile Mexican fugitive captured in northern California. Fausto Perez-Rafael, 42, a former Mexican federal police officer wanted for cocaine trafficking, was turned over to Mexican authorities April 13. Perez-Rafael was arrested in the East Bay community of Pittsburg, Calif.
Since April 2009, ICE ERO officers nationwide have coordinated the removal of more than 175 foreign nationals being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder.