WASHINGTON – Joshua Moses Morales, 36, of San Diego, was extradited to Mexico today, where he is wanted to stand trial for the alleged 2009 killing of a toddler in Tijuana, Baja California, announced U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
According to the extradition request submitted by Mexico, Morales is charged with aggravated homicide after allegedly sexually abusing and killing the two-year old daughter of his girlfriend on Feb. 6, 2009. The alleged killing occurred when the girlfriend was at work and had left her daughter with Morales at their Tijuana apartment. Later that evening, the toddler was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead due to alleged severe bodily trauma. Morales, who is a U.S. citizen, then allegedly fled to the United States.
The U.S. Marshals Service arrested Morales in Corcoran, Calif., in February 2010. In April 2011, following an extradition hearing in federal court in Fresno, Calif., the court certified his extraditability to Mexico. Morales then filed a writ of habeas corpus challenging the court’s findings and his continued detention, and the court denied that writ in December 2011.
“Continued cooperation with Mexican law enforcement agencies to improve public safety in both countries has been a priority for the U.S. Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “This case exemplifies that kind of cooperation. By working together, we ensure that fugitives cannot evade justice simply by crossing the border.”
“We will continue to work with Mexican authorities to ensure that dangerous criminals are not allowed to seek safe haven in Mexico or the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “The extradition of Mr. Morales reflects the Justice Department’s steadfast commitment to our law enforcement partnership with Mexico.”
This case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Garriques of the Eastern District of California and Senior Trial Attorney Valinda Jones of the Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Assistance was also provided by the U.S. Marshals Service.