“MX” for Borderland Beat
|Mexican federal authorities confirming extradition of suspect (via Twitter)|
Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) extradited Mexican criminal Sacramento de Jesús Iribe-Flores to the U.S. yesterday. He fled U.S. justice approximately 15 years ago in a bizarre incident.
In 2004, Iribe-Flores was scheduled for sentencing by the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona for drug trafficking. However, Iribe-Flores changed his identity with another inmate who was going to be deported to Mexico and managed to escape during an official deportation process.
Arrest and accidental deportation
According to court records, Iribe-Flores was arrested on March 11, 2004, when U.S. customs officials discovered 17 kg (37.47 lbs) of cocaine and 4.54 kgs (10 lbs) of methamphetamine hidden under the floor of his sports vehicle in a legal port of entry. Iribe-Flores said that someone paid him US$1,000 to drive the vehicle to a parking lot in Nogales.
The suspect was found guilty in April 2004 for possession of methamphetamine and cocaine with the intent to distribute. He was scheduled for sentencing in October 2004. However, four months earlier, the suspect managed to change his identification card from someone else who was scheduled to be deported back to Mexico.
On the scheduled deportation date, Iribe-Flores was deported by U.S. officials without them being aware of his true identity. “Iribe-Flores walked back to [Mexico]”, U.S. customs spokesperson Russel Ahr confirmed. The identification card included the name, picture and description of the inmate.
U.S. authorities did not officially confirm the identity of the man who they intended to deport. However, an Arizona newspaper confirmed that it was Juan Carlos Damián Burrola, a Mexican national who had entered the U.S. illegally.
Re-arrest in Mexico and extradition
In July 2019, agents of the Federal Ministerial Police arrested him in Culiacán, Sinaloa. His arrest was done as part of an official extradition request by U.S. authorities. Iribe-Flores was imprisoned in Reclusorio Sur, a security facility in Mexico City.
Iribe-Flores was finally extradited back to the U.S. yesterday. He was handed over to U.S. officials at the Mexico City International Airport.
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