Posted on June 7, 2005

Mexico Draws Line on Return

Sue Lindsay and Fernando Quintero, Rocky Mountain News (Denver), June 7, 2005

Mexican authorities will not return Raul Garcia-Gomez to the United States unless prosecutors agree to spare him from execution and life without parole, the Mexican consul in Denver said Monday.

Juan Marcos Gutierrez-Gonzalez, consul general of Mexico in Denver, stressed the cooperation between Mexican and U.S. authorities that resulted in Garcia-Gomez’s arrest Saturday night.

“We are now having one of the best moments of Colorado-Mexico relations,” he said.

But the consul said recent court rulings in his country prevent the extradition of suspects facing either of the United States’ harshest penalties.

A longstanding treaty between the U.S. and Mexico specifically bars extradition in death penalty cases. Mexico’s highest court recently expanded the limits, rejecting extradition for cases in which life without parole was a possibility, Gutierrez-Gonzalez said.

The maximum allowable sentence for murder under Mexican law is 60 years.

Mexico’s policies regarding the return of citizens suspected of committing crimes on U.S. soil took center stage with Garcia-Gomez’s capture in the city of Culiacán.

The 20-year-old fugitive is accused of killing Detective Donald Young and wounding his partner, Detective John Bishop, as the two officers worked off-duty at a baptism party in Denver on May 8.