FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2005
AGUSTIN VASQUEZ-MENDOZA EXTRADITED TO ARIZONA
Indicted for the murder of DEA Special Agent Richard Fass in 1994
PHOENIX – U.S. Attorney
for the District of Arizona Paul K. Charlton; Special Agent in Charge
of the Phoenix Field Division of the Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) Timothy J. Landrum; and Glendale, Ariz. Police Chief
Andrew Kirkland, announced that the Government of Mexico extradited Agustin
Vasquez-Mendoza to the United States today. He will stand trial in the
State of Arizona for his role in the murder of DEA Special Agent Richard
Fass, which occurred on June 30, 1994, in Glendale, Ariz. Vasquez-Mendoza
was removed by DEA Agents from Mexico City to Glendale, Ariz., where
he is expected to arrive Saturday afternoon.
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,” stated
U.S. Attorney Paul K. Charlton.
On June 30, 1994, Special Agent Richard E. Fass, while operating in an
undercover capacity, was shot numerous times by associates of Vasquez-Mendoza.
At the time, Vasquez-Mendoza was the head of a criminal organization
that owned and operated several clandestine methamphetamine laboratories
in the Mexican State of Sonora. Following the crime, four individuals
were identified as being involved in planning the robbery/murder of Special
Agent Fass. Shortly thereafter three of the four suspects were arrested
and charged with the crime. Vasquez-Mendoza managed to evade capture
and fled to Mexico. The three suspects arrested and charged were subsequently
convicted and sentenced for their part in the murder of Special Agent
Fass. On July 9, 2000, Vasquez-Mendoza was arrested in the State of Puebla,
Mexico, and an extradition was requested for his return to the U.S. to
The return of Vasquez-Mendoza to Arizona has been a long time coming.
This is a wonderful day for all law enforcement,” stated DEA Special-Agent-in-Charge
Landrum. “Vasquez-Mendoza’s extradition serves notice that
the worldwide efforts of the DEA will be brought to bear on all those
who harm or kill DEA Special Agents and that these individuals will be
brought to justice. We are grateful to our Mexican counterparts for their
efforts in both the arrest and extradition of Vasquez-Mendoza,” added
The manhunt for Vasquez-Mendoza had been one of the most intense in recent
U.S./Mexico law enforcement history. Phoenix DEA Special Agents immediately
began searching for the fugitive while the Glendale Police Department
homicide unit initiated their murder investigation against Rafael Rubio-Mendez
and Juan Vasquez-Rubio. Vasquez- Mendoza was eventually placed on the
FBI’s Top Ten List. DEA, FBI and the Department of State offered
rewards for his arrest. The arrest and extradition of Vasquez-Mendoza
culminates a long and arduous investigation led by DEA’s Phoenix
Field Division with assistance from the Mexico City Country Office and
the Glendale Police Department.
Today we achieved the outcome we’ve been working so diligently
on for almost 11 years. The exhaustive work of the Glendale Police Detectives,
partnering with DEA, made today’s extradition of Vasquez-Mendoza
possible,” stated Chief Kirkland.
We are very happy that Vasquez-Mendoza is in U.S. custody,” stated
Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin Rapp and Keith Vercauteren have previously
been cross-deputized as Special Deputy County Attorneys and the U.S.
Attorney’s Office will be responsible for the prosecution of Vasquez-Mendoza.
Agencies involved in this investigation include DEA, FBI, U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Marshal’s Service, Maricopa County
Attorney’s Office, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Glendale
Police Department, Phoenix Police Department and law enforcement authorities
An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with
criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is
presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that
establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.