An illegal alien cop-killer, who escaped capture by returning to Mexico and evading capture for almost four years, is now in US law enforcement custody. This killing ignited outrage across the United States.
In the pre-dawn hours Thursday morning, US deputy marshals and agents of Mexico’s Agencia Federal de Investigationes (AFI) delivered fugitive murderer Jorge Arroyo-Garcia to the Orange County California jail in Santa Ana.
Garcia is a vicious fugitive wanted for the murder of Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff David March four years ago. Garcia was flown from Mexico City to Tijuana late Wednesday night, where the Marshals and AFI agents turned him over to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Investigators.
A convoy of Sheriff’s Deputies, California Highway Patrol Officers, and Deputy Marshals accompanied the fugitive to jail. Arroyo-Garcia, also known as Armando “Chato” Garcia, has been in a Mexican prison awaiting extradition since last February.
He was arrested in Tonala, Jalisco, Mexico. AFI agents located Garcia thanks to information provided by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the Marshals’ Los Angeles Regional Fugitive Task Force, and the Mexico City Field Office of the US Marshals Service.
The case gained national attention because of the heinous nature of the murder, and the fact that Arroyo-Garcia’s flight to Mexico was profiled several times on television’s “America’s Most Wanted.” The case also was featured on numerous local and national news programs, including "The O'Reilly Factor" and "Hannity & Colmes."
During the course of attempting extradition, US law enforcement was stonewalled since Mexico's government refused to extradite anyone who faces the death penalty. However, some conservative lawmakers in Washington, DC threatened to pass legislation in 2006 that would have cut-off financial aid to Mexico.
“With today’s extradition of Arroyo-Garcia, an accused killed is one step closer to justice. We also hope his return brings a bit of peace to Deputy March’s family and colleagues,” said US Marshals Service Director John F. Clark.
“This example of international cooperation shows that no fugitive is safe beyond a border and we will continue to relentlessly pursue those who run from the law,” he said diplomatically.
A Mexican national and known drug trafficker, “Chato” Garcia has a long history with Los Angeles law enforcement. He has numerous arrests for crimes such as possession of a Tec-9 machine pistol and narcotics distribution. On three occasions he had been deported back to Mexico, only to return. He allegedly had bragged to friends that he would never be taken alive and pledged to kill any officer who tried to arrest him.
Arroyo-Garcia is accused of killing Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff David March during a routine traffic stop on April 29, 2002. At 10:30 that morning, Deputy March had conducted a routine traffic stop on a 1998 black Nissan. He entered the Nissans’ license plate number into his mobile data terminal and then approached the driver. Deputy March never made it to the driver’s car.
Police investigation reports indicate that the Deputy was shot multiple times in the face, neck and chest. The shooter fled, leaving Deputy March to die on the side of the road. Deputy March left behind a wife and daughter.
Investigations uncovered a photograph of the driver, and then ultimately a name. Garcia is alleged to have bragged to friends about the murder and may have even phoned local law enforcement, threatening to kill any police officer who sought him. Officials immediately suspected that Arroyo-Garcia had fled to Mexico.
Chief Inspector John Clark, Task Force Commander of the US Marshals Los Angeles Regional Fugitive Task Force, applauded the hard work of the LA County Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office, agents from Mexico’s Federal Investigative Agency, as well as deputy marshals serving in the United States and assigned to the agency’s field office in Mexico City.
He particularly noted the level of cooperation among the agencies once the politics between leaders in both countries ended and law enforcement officials were told to proceed with the cop-killer's capture.
“This extradition is a perfect example of the international law enforcement community working as a team, and working alongside the judicial systems of two governments,” said Commander Clark.
“That kind of cooperation ensured that Garcia would be caught and brought to justice,” he told reporters.
“Many people believe they can commit murder here in Los Angeles and simply run to Mexico and hide,” said Adam Torres, United States Marshal for the Central District of California.
“Garcia’s arrest and extradition is just one more example of how wrong they are. The District Attorney’s Office, the United States Marshals, and Mexico’s federal agents have a message for any of you hiding in Mexico,” he continued, “we will work together, combine our recourses, then we’ll find you and bring you to justice.”
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.