Skip to main content
August 24, 2008Los Angeles, CA, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

Key suspect in decade-old Ensenada massacre captured and returned to Mexico

Man's face

LOS ANGELES - Under extraordinarily tight security, a Mexican national wanted in his native country for his prominent role in a decade-old, drug-related massacre near Ensenada was turned over to Mexican authorities at the border in San Ysidro, Calif., Friday night, following his capture by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Marshals Service here late Thursday.

Jesus Ruben Moncada, 33, was taken into custody on administrative immigration violations at his Los Angeles residence by members of ICE's Joint Criminal Alien Removal Task Force (JCART) and officers on the U.S. Marshals Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force. The officers confronted Moncada outside his home at 945 Woods Avenue as he was taking out the trash. He offered no resistance.

Moncada told officers he entered the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in December l998. Following his arrest, Moncada waived his right to an immigration hearing and agreed to return voluntarily to Mexico. ICE coordinated his repatriation closely with Mexican law enforcement officials.

"This is a major breakthrough for Mexican law enforcement," said Fernando Castillo, press secretary for the Mexican Attorney General's Office. "We have been actively seeking this fugitive since the brutal slayings 10 years ago. His capture this week is a direct result of the ongoing cooperative efforts involving our office and law enforcement agencies in the United States. Our borders will not be barriers to bringing violent criminals to justice."

Moncada is wanted in the Mexican state of Baja, Calif., for first degree murder, kidnapping and attempted murder - specifically, the execution-style slaying of 19 people, including five children, at a ranch outside Ensenada on September 17, 1998. The killings purportedly stemmed from a drug trafficking turf battle. Armed gunmen, including Moncada, allegedly went to the ranch seeking a reputed drug dealer. After arriving at a cluster of homes on the outskirts of Ensenada, the suspects awakened the families inside, led them outdoors, and shot them execution-style.

"This man is suspected of being involved in one of the most heinous mass killings in recent times," said Brian M. DeMore, Los Angeles field office director for ICE detention and removal operations. "Our goal is not only to see justice served, but to protect law abiding citizens on both sides of the border from this type of senseless violence."

"This is another example of the outstanding cooperation between the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force, ICE and Mexican law enforcement," said Thomas Hession, chief inspector of the U.S. Marshals Service Regional Fugitive Task Force based in Los Angeles. "Apprehending Moncada will provide some relief to the families of his victims."

Since January 2006, officers with ICE's detention and removal operations division in Los Angeles, working closely with the U.S. Marshals Service, have captured 75 foreign nationals wanted in their native countries for serious crimes, including rape and murder.