Americans on the run often head south to escape the arm of the law, but statistics indicate the arm is longer than they might think.
Two such fugitives from justice are believed to have made a run for the Mexican border after they allegedly killed a Washington state couple, but brothers John and Tony Reed have bilateral cooperation working against them.
Since 2003, more than 3,500 wanted fugitives have been sent back to the United States by Mexican authorities, and the number has been increasing over the years.
An average of 341 have been captured and returned since 2011. One of the recent, high-profile arrests was that of the “affluenza teen,” Ethan Couch, who was holed up in Puerto Vallarta for a while with his mother.
In Baja California, a special state police unit keeps busy with U.S. fugitives from justice, handling about three cases per week. It will soon make its 1,000th capture since the unit was formed in 2003.
Rodolfo Luna is in charge of the squad of eight officers who track down America’s wanted, and he’s well aware of the Washington murder case. “We have a lot of people looking for them,” he told the Seattle Times yesterday. “I think it’s only going to be a few days to locate these guys.”
The Reed brothers have been charged with the murder of Patrick Shunn and Monique Patenade, who were last seen April 11.
The suspects are believed to have traveled to their parents’ home in Ellensburg, Washington, before driving to Phoenix. They left that city in a 2002 Acura, and were subsequently seen in Mexicali, Baja California, on April 18.
Only Mexican authorities can make an arrest in Mexico, but U.S. officials can — and do — help.
“Maybe it’s from watching movies, but people think that U.S. law enforcement stops at the border,” said Special Agent Darrell Foxworth, spokesman for the FBI’s San Diego office. “We don’t.”
The cross-border cooperation has meant that fugitives on the FBI’s most wanted list are more likely to be caught in Mexico than any other foreign country. Since 1998, 12 such fugitives have been captured in Mexico, compared to to 14 in the rest of the world.
Lack of funds and poor knowledge of Spanish are expected to create problems for the Reed brothers.
“If these guys don’t have money, it’s going to be a problem for them to travel,” he said. “I think we’re going to be successful with this case.”
Source: Seattle Times (en)