Noe Torres extradited to New Mexico
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Noe Torres had been on the lam for more than six years and was featured on “America’s Most Wanted” but he was flown by Mexican officials to Albuquerque Tuesday afternoon, transferred into the custody of State Police and is on his way to Clovis, the site of the shooting, where Torres will be placed in a state correctional facility.
Tuesday’s handover ends a long, complicated extradition that required navigating through a tangle of legal and international procedures involving the Mexican government, judges there, the US Department of Justice, federal marshals, the US embassy in Mexico City and the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office.
In late January, Gov. Susana Martinez and District Attorney for the Clovis area Matt Chandler held a news conference announcing that Torres had been apprehended in Mexico and estimating that he would be sent to authorities in New Mexico in 60-90 days. Tuesday marked the 161st day since the news conference but Torres is back in the state he fled from back in 2005.
“There are so many different players involved in this extradition process that it involves a lot of agency coordination,” Chandler told Capitol Report New Mexico two months ago.
As for Torres’ recklessness and bad luck?
During his time on the lam, authorities say he would sometimes send letters to prosecutors in the Clovis area — sometimes mocking, other times pleading and declaring his innocence.
In January, Torres actually sent a letter to Gov. Martinez asking for help and claiming that the warrant for his arrest was bogus. That was the dumb part.
As for the bad luck part? By coincidence, Martinez on that very day was meeting the governor of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. She asked for his help in tracking down Torres — whom authorities long suspected was in Mexico — and when a break in the case came days later, Martinez told reporters the Chihuahua governor was instrumental in helping authorities in that country nab Torres.
The arrest gave Martinez an opportunity to give reporters in the January news conference a soundbite that made all the local TV stations:
“Noe Torres foolishly sent me a letter,” she said. “This guy wanted me to send a message through the media about his case. Well Noe, here’s my message through the media: I don’t help child killers.”
The victim in the case is Carlos Perez of Clovis. One night in September of 2005, nine shots rang out at the home of the Perez family. Eight bullets hit furniture but one struck Carlos as he lay in his bed. Family members told reporters Carlos was set to celebrate his 11th birthday the following day.
Carlos was air-lifted to a Lubbock hospital but was pronounced dead.
Three men were arrested in connection with the shooting but Torres — nicknamed “Li’l Loco” — eluded capture. Until his letter to the governor helped bring him back to New Mexico.
Here’s the letter that Torres sent Martinez, courtesy of Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican: http://roundhouseroundup.blogspot.com/2012/01/fugitive-murder-suspect-captured-after.html