The Mexican government has extradited 11 defendants to face trial in the United States. The defendants are accused of various crimes, including murder, sex offenses, drug trafficking and moneylaundering in Texas, Washington, Florida, Indiana, California and Maryland.
With the arrival of these 11 individuals, Mexico has now extradited 100 defendants to the United States in 2009, the highest yearly number of extraditions from Mexico to date. The extradition of 95 defendants in 2008 was the previous record number of extraditions for one year from Mexico.
"The extradition of these 11 defendants exemplifies the strong cooperative relationship between the United States and Mexico," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "Each year since 2001, Mexico has increased the number of defendants it extradites to the United States. By ensuring that alleged criminals are held accountable, we send a strong message that fleeing across the border does not mean you will escape justice. I am looking forward to meeting Attorney General Chavez tomorrow and discussing additional ways we as law enforcement partners can work together to hold such defendants, particularly alleged leaders and associates of drug cartels, accountable."
The defendants arrived in the United States on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009, and will be transferred to the jurisdictions in which they face charges. The extradited defendants, and the charges they face, are listed below:
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Victor Manuel Contreras Soltero and Arturo Casas Vasquez are Mexican citizens indicted by the Criminal Division’s Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for conspiracy to import and to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine. Contreras Soltero and Casas Vasquez are alleged to have directed the importation of tons of cocaine from Mexico into the United States between 2002 and 2005.
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Leonardo Vasquez Estrada, a Mexican citizen, was charged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida with conspiracy to commit money laundering and 12 counts of money laundering. Vasquez Estrada is alleged to have been a member of an organization that laundered money from drug sales in the United States through Mexican banks from 2003 to 2007.
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
Jesus Emilio Rivera Piñon is a Mexican citizen charged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and money laundering. Rivera Piñon is alleged to have been involved in 1989 with an organization responsible for distributing thousands of pounds of cocaine in the United States. In 1995, he became the first Mexican citizen ordered extradited to the United States by a Mexican court. His return was delayed while he served a prison sentence for a conviction in Mexico.
STATE OF INDIANA
Francisco Contreras is a Mexican citizen charged in Marion County, Indiana, with five counts of sexual offenses against a minor for allegedly molesting a young girl repeatedly in 2002.
STATE OF TEXAS
Rodolfo Villela Tovar is a Mexican citizen charged in Travis County, Texas, with murder. Villela Tovar allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend to death on May 28, 2008.
Jesus Manuel Garza is a Mexican citizen charged in Sutton County, Texas, with murder and other crimes. On the night of Jan. 13, 2008, Garza allegedly shot a co-worker to death, stole the co-worker’s wallet and truck, and fled to Mexico.
Cesar Pacheco is a Mexican citizen charged in El Paso, Texas, with attempted murder, sexual assault and other crimes. On the night of May 5, 2005, Cesar and another man allegedly broke into the home of Cesar’s aunt and raped her. The two are alleged to have stabbed her multiple times and attempted to suffocate her with a plastic bag after she recognized her assailants.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Gabriel Cabrera Lopez is a Mexican citizen, charged in Riverside County, Calif., for sex offenses against a child. Beginning in the early 1990s and ending in 2005, Lopez is alleged to have molested and raped his young daughter and a niece.
Arnoldo Vargas Esteves is a Mexican citizen charged in Riverside County, Calif., with murder. Esteves allegedly shot and killed a member of a rival gang during a fight on Dec. 18, 1998.
STATE OF MARYLAND
Joel Nunez Valleshas been charged in Howard County, Md., with murder and robbery. In October 2005, Nunez Valles allegedly stabbed his brother 19 times after his brother refused to lend him money. Nunez Valles then allegedly stole $2,000 and fled to Mexico.