CBP Arrests Murderer Convicted in California in 2003 After Entering US Illegally

A Mexican national previously convicted for second-degree murder over a decade ago was arrested near the U.S.-Mexico border, federal authorities said.

The 45-year-old man was located by border patrol agents on April 2 after a concerned citizen called the department to report “two suspicious men” wandering in “harsh terrain” for several days near Marron Valley Road in California.

“As the agent approached, the men asked for water and explained they became lost after crossing the border,” according to a Monday press release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“The agent provided water and determined both men had entered the U.S. illegally,” the agency added. “The two men were arrested and transported to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing.”

Following processing at the station, agents learned that the man was convicted of second-degree murder in California in 2003, and was sentenced to 15-years to life in prison. He was deported from the United States in 2019.

“The work our agents do, matters not only to communities along the border, but to every city and town in America,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke said. “Our vigilant agents prevented this dangerous man from re-entering our communities and I am proud of their dedication.”

Details around the individual that accompanied the murder convict were not provided by the agency.

The incident happened as the nation sees a surge in illegal immigration along the U.S. southern border, concerning border authorities.

CBP figures show that illegal crossings rose to over 100,000 in February, while the number of family units caught trying to enter illegally rose to over 19,000, nearly three times the January figure.

Republicans and others have blamed President Joe Biden’s immigration policies and messaging for fueling the border surge, particularly his reversal of key border security measures enacted by the Trump administration. While the Biden administration has sought to portray the spike in illegal crossings as a seasonal phenomenon, officials have at the same time rolled out more aggressive messaging in a bid to discourage would-be illegal immigrants who seek to take advantage of the relaxed laws.

Separately, Deputy Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz estimated that more than 1 million illegal immigrants would arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2021 as the White House grapples with how to find facilities and process them.

Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.