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IN RE EXTRADITION OF SALAS

September 25, 2001

IN THE MATTER OF THE EXTRADITION OF: LAURO SOTO SALAS, MAURILIO SOTO CAMPA, MELITON SOTO CAMPA, AND PABLO SOTO CAMPA, DEFENDANTS.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rosemond, United States Magistrate Judge.

  EXTRADITION CERTIFICATION AND ORDER OF COMMITMENT WITHOUT BOND

On March 11, 1996, in accordance with the provisions of the May 4, 1978 Extradition Treaty in full force and effect between the United Mexican States and the United States of America, the Embassy of Mexico formally requested the provisional arrest for extradition purposes of Lauro Soto Salas, Maurilio Soto Campa, Meliton Soto Campa, and Pablo Soto Campa. A warrant of arrest and the equivalent of an American indictment were initiated in and issued by the First Criminal and Civil Trial Court of the Judicial District of Rio Grande, Zacatecas, and later said arrest warrant and said American indictment equivalent were assigned by extension of jurisdiction to the Third Criminal Court of the Judicial District of Zacatecas, Capital of the State of Zacatecas. The warrant of arrest and the American indictment equivalent charged Lauro Soto Salas, Maurilio Soto Campa, Meliton Soto Campa, and Pablo Soto Campa with the intentional aggravated homicides of four Mexican citizens. Extradition is sought for these murders.

On March 5, 1997, after an extradition hearing, this Court found Lauro Soto Salas subject to extradition and issued an "Extradition Certification and Order of Commitment Without Bond". Subsequently, Lauro Soto Salas was extradited to the Government of Mexico, where he was tried and convicted of the four murders in Zacatecas, Mexico. More specifically, on June 29, 1998, the Third Criminal Judge of the Judicial District of Zacatecas issued a verdict of guilty, finding Lauro Soto Salas criminally responsible for the commission of the crime of homicide. Lauro Soto Salas was sentenced to 30 years in prison, and is presently confined in the Regional Social Rehabilitation Center of Ciemeguillas, Zacatecas.

In February of this year, defendant Meliton Soto Campa was arrested in Wichita, Kansas. On February 26, 2001, the "Government's Ex Parte Motion To Dismiss Complaint Without Prejudice" against defendant Meliton Soto Campa was filed.*fn1 The motion was granted on the same day.*fn2 The Government subsequently initiated extradition proceedings against Meliton in the District of Kansas.

Pablo Soto Campa remains a fugitive of Mexican justice, and has been so since March 23, 1995, the date on which the Trial Court of Family Matters, sitting in Rio Grande, Zacatecas, issued the initial arrest warrant against him charging him with the four Zacatecas murders at issue. Defendant Maurilio Soto Campa is the brother of Meliton and Pablo Soto Campa, and the first cousin of previously extradited defendant, Lauro Soto Campa.

On August 13, August 21, and September 14, 2001, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 3184, following the provisional arrest of Maurilio Soto Campa upon the formal request of the Government of Mexico, the extradition hearing in this matter was held. The Court, having considered the pleadings and written submissions of the parties; the documentary evidence introduced on behalf of the Government of Mexico; defendant Maurilio Soto Campa's opposition to extradition; the testimony of witnesses Jesus John Gonzalez, Gustavo Soto, Virgillo Soto, and defendant Maurilio Soto Campa; the evidence presented by both parties; and the oral arguments of counsel of record, hereby makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and in so doing, certifies the extraditability of Maurilio Soto Campa to the Secretary of State of the United States of America on the charged offense.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. A valid extradition treaty exists between the United States of America and the United Mexican States. There is no challenge to the full force and effect of said treaty.

2. The extradition documents submitted by the United States of America on behalf of the United Mexican States in support of the Embassy of Mexico's request for the extradition of defendant Maurilio Soto Campa, as well as the extradition of his fugitive co-defendant and brother, to-wit: Pablo Soto Campa, set out the statutory bases and penalties, the underlying facts, and all necessary and related information as to the warrants of arrest obtained in and issued by the Mexican courts against these two men. No challenge to the authenticity of these documents was made.

3. The evidence admitted at Maurilio Soto Campa's extradition hearing demonstrated that the arrest warrants, as well as the other documents demanding the surrender of defendant Maurilio Soto Campa and his co-defendants were properly and legally authenticated pursuant to the terms of the Treaty and 18 U.S.C. § 3190. No challenge to the authenticity of these documents was made.

4. The defendant Maurilio Soto Campa is in fact the same individual charged in Mexico and subject to the arrest warrant at issue. He is also the same individual who is the subject of the request for extradition. After his arrest, defendant Maurilio Soto Campa admitted to Deputy United States Marshal, Jesus John Gonzales, that he was in fact Maurilio Soto Campa, that he was the subject of the request for extradition, and that he was fully aware of the fact that he was wanted in Mexico for the Zacatecas murders:

Government: Did he admit to you specifically that he was Maurilio Soto Campa at that point?

Gonzales: Yes, he did.

Government: And did he indicate to you whether or not he knew whether or not he was wanted in Mexico?
Gonzales: He said he was aware of the fact that he was wanted.
Government: And did he tell you anything about why he was wanted?
Gonzales: He said he was wanted for murders down there.*fn3

5. It should be noted that the United States Marshal Service has been searching for defendant Maurilio Soto Campa for some years. When asked by investigators of the Marshal Service about the whereabouts of Maurilio Soto Campa, members of the Soto Campa family, including his mother and his wife, all denied having any knowledge regarding his whereabouts. In this regard, the United States Marshal Service found members of the Soto Campa family to be uncooperative.*fn4

7. When Maurilio Soto Campa was arrested on May 11, 2000, he used an alias, and had on his person a false identification card, as well as, a false driver's license from the State of Kansas. The alias used by Maurilio, and the name on the false identification card was Jose Luis Figueroa Diaz.*fn6 Only after being shown certain family photographs of himself, did the defendant Maurilio Soto Campa recant, as noted above, and admit to the investigators that he was in fact Maurilio Soto Campa.*fn7

8. The criminal charges of intentional aggravated homicide presently pending against defendant Maurilio Soto Campa and his co-defendants are violations of the Criminal Code for the State of Zacatecas, Mexico. The charges are considered crimes in both the United States and Mexico. The Treaty with Mexico expressly provides that murder is an extraditable offense.

9. The offenses for which extradition is sought are each punishable under the laws of both Mexico and the United States by imprisonment for a period of more than one year and, thus, are covered under Article 2 of the Treaty.

10. In accordance with Article 13(3) of the May 4, 1978 Extradition Treaty between the United States and Mexico, the Government of the United States provides legal representation in United States courts for the Government of Mexico in its extradition requests, and the Government of Mexico provides legal representation in its courts for extradition requests made by the United States. At the extradition hearing herein, the Government of the United States introduced evidence on behalf of Mexico. The evidence presented at the hearing shows that all of the requirements of the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico have been met. No challenge to the authenticity of these documents was made.

11. The criminal charges and warrants of arrest are predicated on the declarations, accusations, and statements of eyewitnesses to the crimes charged, together, in some instances, with corroborating physical evidence, as well as other credible and persuasive evidence presented at the hearing. No challenge to the authenticity of these documents was made.

12. On the morning of March 20, 1995, in the village of Villa Cardenas, belonging to the municipality of General Francisco R. Murguia, of the Government of the free and sovereign State of Zacatecas, of the United Mexican States, four men, namely, Juan Manuel Ortega Mares, Jose Vicente Ortega Rangel, Arnulfo Ortega Mares, and Maurilio Mares Aguero were shot and killed in three different locations in and around Villa Cardenas.

13. Defendant Maurilio Soto Campa is the brother to co-defendants Meliton Soto Campa and Pablo Soto Campa. He is first cousin to co-defendant Lauro Soto Salas. Prior to the date of the four murders, all of the co-defendants resided in Chicago. First cousin Lauro Soto Salas, having been tried, convicted, and sentenced by the Mexican courts for the four murders at issue, is now an inmate in the Penitentiary of Cieneguillas, Zacatecas.

14. As noted earlier, the parents of brothers Maurilio Soto Campa, Meliton Soto Campa, and Pablo Soto Campa are Arturo Soto and Cristina Campa. They reside in Chicago. The three brothers and first cousin Lauro Soto Campa all share the same paternal grandparents, and all four were born in Villa Cardenas, in Zacatecas, Mexico.

15. Maurilio Soto Campa left Mexico in 1984, when he was 13 years old. He has returned only twice. The last time that he was in Mexico was to bury his brother in 1995. He was in Mexico then for about a week to 10 days.

16. Maurilio Soto Campa's brother, Mario Soto Campa, was murdered in Villa Cardenas, Zacatecas, Mexico, on March 2, 1995. Maurilio, Pablo, and Meliton Soto Campa, and their first cousin, Lauro Soto Campa, all attended Mario's funeral in Villa Cardenas in March of 1995.

17. Maurilio Soto Campa was absent from his place of employment in the Chicago area between March 18, 1995 and April 16, 1995.

18. Pablo Soto Campa quit his job in the Chicago area on March 3, 1995. Pablo told his employer that he was quitting to go to Mexico. Pablo returned to work and was rehired on December 11, 1995.

19. Meliton Soto Campa was absent from his place of employment in the Chicago area for about three months, beginning in early March of 1995. Meliton told his employer that he had to go to Mexico because his brother had been murdered there.

20. The murders of Juan Manuel Ortega Mares, Jose Vicente Ortega Rangel, Arnulfo Ortega Mares, and Maurilio Mares Aguero occurred on March 20, 1995 in and around certain locations in Villa Cardenas, in Zacatecas. In February of 1996, defendant Maurilio Soto Campa's brother, Gustavo Soto, told Deputy United States Marshal Jesus Gonzales that Maurilio and his other two brothers, Pablo and Meliton, and his cousin, Lauro Soto Salas, all went to Mexico to avenge the murder of their brother Mario Soto Campa. At the August 21st, 2001 extradition hearing, Gustavo, 24 years old with only a first year of high school education, denied ever making the aforesaid statement to Deputy Marshal Gonzales. However, Gustavo was not a credible witness. For one thing, he denied that his brothers ever went to his murdered brother's funeral. At the September 14th, 2001 reopening and continuation of his extradition hearing, Maurilio Soto Campa, himself, admitted that he had gone to Mexico to bury his brother. In addition, Virgillo Soto, the older brother of Maurilio, Pablo, Meliton, and Gustavo, similarly testified at the August 21st extradition hearing that Maurilio was in attendance at his murdered brother's funeral:

Government: And you say he [Mario Soto Campa] was killed in Villa Cardenas, Mexico, is that correct?

Virgillo S: Yes.

Government: Do you remember what year . . .

Virgillo S: It was in '95.

Government: Do you remember what ...


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