Vasquez-Mendoza Extradited To Arizona
JAN 29— DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy announced the extradition of Agustin Vasquez-Mendoza from Mexico to the United States to stand trial for his role in the murder of DEA Special Agent Richard Fass, 10 years ago, in Glendale, Arizona. Vasquez-Mendoza was removed from Mexico City by DEA Agents and was transported to Phoenix, Arizona, where he will appear before a Maricopa County Judge to answer a July 5, 1994 Maricopa County Grand Jury indictment for First Degree Murder, Conspiracy/Armed Robbery, Attempted Murder, Attempted Armed Robbery, Kidnapping and First Degree Burglary.
On June 30, 1994, Special Agent Richard E. Fass, while operating in an undercover capacity, was shot five times, in a cold blooded, pre-meditated plan by Vasquez-Mendoza and his associates to rob Special Agent Fass of $160,000 in cash that they believed was for the purchase of methamphetamine. Vasquez-Mendoza was the head of a criminal organization that owned and operated several clandestine methamphetamine laboratories in the Mexican State of Senora. Vasquez-Mendoza then smuggled the methamphetamine into the United States for distribution. Vasquez-Mendoza and three additional defendants, Rafael Rubio-Mendez, Juan Vasquez-Rubio and Eduardo Aceves-Vasquez, were identified as being involved in planning the robbery/murder of Special Agent Fass. Agustin Vasquez-Mendoza, managed to evade capture and fled to Mexico. The three co-defendants were arrested and charged. All three defendants were subsequently convicted and sentenced for their part in the murder of Special Agent Fass. On July 9, 2000, Agustin Vasquez-Mendoza was arrested in the State of Puebla, Mexico, and an extradition was requested for his return to the U.S. to face charges.
"More than a decade ago, DEA Special Agent Richard Fass was killed in cold-blood trying to put violent wholesale methamphetamine traffickers out of business. After a relentless six year manhunt the mastermind behind Agent Fass' murder is returned to the scene of the crime to face justice," said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy.
Paul K. Charlton, the United States Attorney for the District of Arizona stated “ This is a good day for Law Enforcement. We are grateful to the Mexican government and look forward to presenting this case to a jury.”
The manhunt for Vasquez-Mendoza had been one of the most intense in recent U.S./Mexico law enforcement history. Special Agents and personnel from the Phoenix F.D. immediately began searching for the fugitive while the Glendale and Phoenix Police Department’s homicide units initiated their murder investigation against his co-defendants. DEA personnel enlisted the assistance of the intelligence community and many Mexican law enforcement entities. Vasquez-Mendoza was placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Top Ten List on August 3, 1996. On October 1, 1998, DEA, FBI and the Department of State offered a reward up to 2.2 million dollars for his arrest. The arrest and extradition of Vasquez-Mendoza culminates a long and arduous investigation led by DEA Phoenix Field Division with assistance from the Mexico City Country Office (MCCO). Vasquez-Mendoza was profiled in three “America’s Most Wanted” television productions and two “Unsolved Mystery” productions. Hot lines were established and manned around the clock handling thousands of leads that came from as far south as Panama City and as far north as Montreal, Canada.
“Today we achieved the outcome we’ve been working so diligently on for almost 11 years. The exhaustive work of Glendale Police Detectives, partnering with DEA, made today’s extradition of Agustin VASQUEZ-Mendoza possible,” said Glendale Chief of Police Andrew Kirkland.
“We are very happy that Agustin Vasquez-Mendoza is in U.S. custody, and we intend to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law,” stated Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
“I would like to thank the Government of Mexico, in particular, Attorney General Rafel Macedo de la Concha for monitoring the progress of this investigation and moving forward with the extradition,” said Administrator Tandy.
Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSA) Keith Vercauteren and Kevin Rapp, both of which are cross-designated as Maricopa County State Prosecutors, are currently assigned to the Fass murder case and will be responsible for the prosecution of VASQUEZ-Mendoza upon his arrival in the United States. Vasquez-Mendoza faces life with the possibility of parole after serving 25 years of imprisonment if convicted of the charges.
For additional information, please contact DEA’s Office of Public Affairs at 202-307-7977.