History has shown that many criminals choose Mexico as a country where they feel they can avoid the long arm of American law. Max Factor heir, Andrew Luster, was living in Puerto Vallarta at the time of his arrest by reality TV host and bounty hunter, Duane “The Dog” Chapman.
After murdering his wife and three children in 2001, Christian Longo sought out Cancun as his private place to vacate. At the time of his arrest, Longo was living in a grass shack and dating a new woman when FBI agents with the help of the Mexican federales came knocking on his door to apprehend him.
More recently in the news, Byron Keith Perkins, a federal prisoner serving time for drug distribution and firearms charges, was re-arrested in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after being released from federal prison back in January 2006 so that he could donate a kidney to his son. Sadly, he never showed up for the compatibility tests needed prior to a kidney donation but instead fled the country leaving his son to find another donor.
Since the early days of the United States, countless murderers, drug dealers, horse thieves, rapists, and tax evaders have looked to Mexico as their place of preference.
So what is it about Mexico? There are so many places in the U.S. for culprits to hide, why do they choose to make their run south of the border? Is it for lunch at Taco Bell?
There are several reasons why criminals opt to make this country their safety nest.
1. For one, Mexico has a long history of refusing to extradite suspects who face life in prison or the death penalty. Their court system sees capital punishment and life without the possibility of parole as forms of cruel and unusual punishment. They do, however, favor rehabilitation for the criminal. Unless American authorities are willing to reduce the potential sentence for a perpetrator of a crime, Mexican authorities are reluctant to extradite a suspect.
2. Mexico is a country whose authorities are perceived to be anarchistic. Political and police corruption are widespread such that a fugitive with deep pockets can pass a few dollars to an underpaid Mexican police officer to buy his way out of an arrest.
Mexico has a poor track record of sending fugitives back north of the Rio Grande river. For Americans who make a “run for the Bell,” it could be years for U.S. authorities to get them back if they have a good lawyer in Mexico unless Mexico sees no reason to keep a fugitive.
For Mexican citizens who flee to their own country, it is even harder for U.S. officials to bring them in to face justice. The reason for this trend is that many Mexican nationals have families to whom they can turn when seeking asylum from the American legal system. Americans on the other hand are considered outsiders with no roots in Mexico. Unless the American is rich and can support himself in this developing country that provides very few jobs, he has a greater chance of being caught by Mexican law enforcement to face extradition to the U.S.
If the U.S. wants really bad a fugitive living in Mexico, American authorities will just travel there and arrest him themselves. In 1990, this is what happened when the U.S. paid Mexican nationals to kidnap Humberto Alvarez-Machain, a physician from Guadalajara, who was charged by the U.S. of being present when DEA agent Enrique Camarena was handcuffed, tortured, and murdered in 1985 while he was investigating ties between large drug cartels and Mexican officials. Mexican mercenaries flew Alvarez-Machain to the U.S. to face trial in the federal agent’s death.
For the American citizen, Mexico is more than just a place for suntans and Tequilas. It is a place of refuge for criminals who refuse to be prosecuted.
Fabiola Castillo is an online marketer for the website NinjaCOPS.com. This virtual store specializes in selling telescopic batons, kubatons, pepper spray, nunchaku, stun guns, Air Tasers, home security equipment, and many other self defense products.