Suspected Killer Brought Back to Pasco
PASCO, Wash. - 15 men from Mexico were extradited to the United States and one of them is wanted for a Pasco murder.
U.S. Authorities brought Carlos Villanueva-Garcia back late Friday night.
Villanueva-Garcia is one of three men wanted in the murder of 36-year-old Miguel Cortes. He was shot and stabbed on the corner of Wehe and Lewis Street in Pasco in June of 2004.
Franklin County Prosecutor Steve Lowe said this is a big step to bring more criminals that are hiding in Mexico to justice.
Lowe said, "Historically, in our county, a person could flee to Mexico and never face justice. I think those days are over and having him in the courtroom is going to show those individuals that they can't flee."
Maria Mendoza lives right down the street from where the murder took place. She remembered the night that Cortes was found dead and said, "I was so scared. We saw everything. The guy was on the floor bleeding everywhere and the girl was saying don't die, don't die."
The victim's girlfriend helped authorities locate Villanueva-Garcia who was living in Mexico.
Lowe said people hiding south of the border are a huge problem. He thinks efforts from the Mexican president are paying off and believes more criminals will make their way back to the United States.
Lowe said, "It's a huge step for us. It's not just a trickle, it's a flood and I want to compliment the Mexican president who has stated that they do not want Mexico to be a place where they can hide from American justice."
Lowe said it is a huge process to get a suspect back onto American soil. He said, "It's very exciting for our office because this is the first one and it really shows it's going to happen. I can tell you he's here on American soil and going to be in this courthouse."
The group that was extradited with Villanueva-Garcia was the largest group of suspected criminals that the United States has received from Mexico. Many of them are wanted for serious drug offenses. Villanueva-Garcia is expected back in Franklin County within the next few days.