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Mexican murder suspect captured in northern California returned to Mexico

Mexican murder suspect captured in northern California returned to Mexico
Mexican murder suspect captured in northern California returned to Mexico

SAN DIEGO - A Mexican national captured recently in Stanislaus County who is wanted for murder in his native country was turned over to Mexican law enforcement officials at the border south of San Diego Friday morning by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Jose Ramos Negrete-Arriola, 36, is charged with homicide in a warrant issued in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The warrant alleges Negrete was responsible for the May 10, 2002, murder of Jesus Ojeda-Ojeda in Rancho Cerro Prieto del Carmen. According to officials in the Mexican Attorney General's Office, the victim was gunned down at a Mother's Day street dance after he confronted Negrete about threatening his elderly father at the same event earlier in the evening.

Negrete was taken into custody on administrative immigration violations March 4 at his Hughson, Calif., residence. The arrest was made by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers assigned to the agency's Fresno-based Fugitive Operations Team and an officer from the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. Negrete's capture came after ICE ERO received a lead from the Mexican Attorney General's Office indicating the murder suspect might be residing in the small northern California town. Subsequently, Negrete appeared before an immigration judge, who determined the fugitive had no legal basis to remain in the U.S., paving the way for his repatriation to Mexico.

"Today's repatriation is another example of the outstanding cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico to protect law-abiding citizens on both sides of the border," said Joseph Romel, assistant field office director for ICE ERO in Fresno. "ICE is using its unique immigration enforcement authorities to safeguard our communities from criminal aliens and others who pose a public safety threat, including suspects fleeing justice in their own countries. As these violent criminal fugitives are discovering, they can't outrun the law."

"By working together, we've succeeded in taking a potentially dangerous individual off of the streets," said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson. "Cases like this clearly show the benefits of local and federal collaboration and why it's important for that teamwork to continue."

Negrete is the fourth high-profile Mexican fugitive captured in northern California to be handed over to Mexican authorities in recent weeks. Last month, ICE officers repatriated two murder suspects who were arrested in King City, Calif., and a former Mexican federal police officer wanted for cocaine trafficking who was captured in the East Bay community of Pittsburg, Calif.

From April 2009 through Aug. 2010, ERO officers nationwide coordinated the removal of more than 150 foreign nationals being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder.