He admitted being a salaried killer for a drug cartel, the kind of assassin who preferred slashing his victims’ throats.
On Tuesday, after serving three years behind bars, he was released from a Mexican detention center and was on his way to the United States—where he would soon live as a free man.
Or, rather, a free boy.
The killer, Edgar Jimenez Lugo, known to Mexican crime reporters as “El Ponchis,” is 17 years old. He was 11 when he killed his first victim, and he was 14 when he was arrested, in December 2010, at the Cuernavaca airport, along with luggage containing two handguns and packets of cocaine.
Back then, Jimenez’s tender age transformed him into a media phenomenon, one that shocked Mexico, and the world, into recognizing the extent to which the country’s brutal drug war was consuming its young. And now it is one of the reasons why Jimenez—who claims to have killed four people at an age before most kids get their learner’s permit to drive—will soon be mingling with the residents of San Antonio.
Under the laws at the time in the Mexican state of Morelos, where he was prosecuted, Jimenez could be sentenced to a maximum of only three years of incarceration because he was a minor. A judge ordered him released Tuesday, a few days before his three years were up.
And because he is a U.S. citizen, born in San Diego, he has every right to return to his home country.
“Apparently he’s paid his debt for whatever crimes he was convicted of [in Mexico], and I’m not aware of any charges the U.S., federal or state, has against him,” Michelle Lee, an FBI special agent based in San Antonio, said Tuesday. “The situation with him is really no different than any other U.S. national who commits a crime, completes their sentence and is released.”
Jimenez, who had lived, and killed, in Jiutepec, a town near the popular resort city of Cuernavaca, was on a plane headed to San Antonio, where he has family, Jorge Vicente Messeguer Guillen, the Morelos government secretary, said in a TV interview.
Once in San Antonio, Messeguer said, Jimenez would be sent to what he referred to as a “support center” but would not be locked up.
U.S. State Department officials would not elaborate on what Jimenez’s living arrangements would be when he arrived in Texas. Nor did they clarify what Messeguer meant by a “support center.”