SAN DIEGO — Two Mexican nationals captured recently in Los Angeles, who are wanted on murder charges in their native country, were turned over Tuesday to Mexican law enforcement personnel at a San Diego-area border crossing by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Luis Fernando Quintero-Heras, 44, and Jose Adrian Mendoza Del Muro, 33, were transferred to the custody of representatives from the Mexican Attorney General's Office. The two men are charged in connection with separate slayings in Mexico.
Authorities in Zacatecas allege Mendoza shot two men in May 2011 following an argument, killing one and injuring the other. He is charged in a warrant issued in May 2012 with first degree murder and attempted murder. Two months ago, the U.S. Marshals Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force alerted ERO officers in Los Angeles about the outstanding criminal warrants. Officers with ERO and the U.S. Marshals Service took Mendoza into custody May 14 without incident outside his residence in South Gate. Earlier this month, an immigration judge granted the murder suspect voluntary departure to Mexico under safeguards, paving the way for his repatriation Tuesday. Database checks indicate Mendoza has a prior criminal conviction in California state court for driving under the influence, resulting in a sentence of 36 months' probation.
Quintero is wanted for an October 2000 slaying in Sinaloa. Authorities allege Quintero shot a man in the head and the victim died five days later in a hospital. Two months ago, ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) attaché in Hermosillo alerted HSI special agents in Los Angeles that Quintero was wanted for murder. HSI special agents arrested him on administrative immigration violations May 28 at this home in Pacoima. Two weeks ago, an immigration judge granted him voluntary departure under safeguards, leading to his repatriation Tuesday. Database checks indicate Quintero has a prior conviction in the U.S. for driving without a license for which he received 12 months' probation.
"As these cases make clear, a person's U.S. conviction history is not always a reflection of whether they pose a threat to public safety," said David W. Jennings, field office director for ERO Los Angeles. "The repatriation of these two fugitive murder suspects is the direct result of the ongoing cooperation between U.S. law enforcement and our Mexican counterparts. Violent criminals who believe they can evade justice by fleeing to the U.S. should be on notice they will find no refuge here."
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 720 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with ICE's Office of International Operations, foreign consular offices in the United States and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.