Couch latest fleeing felon caught by U.S. Marshals

Since the days of the Wild West - felons have thought all they had to do, to escape the long arm of the law, is to step across the border into Mexico. Ethan couch is just the latest to learn more about extradition and the hound dog mentality of a U.S. Marshal.

The information that revealed Ethan Couch's location in Mexico - despite his change in appearance -- came Christmas Eve. With his hiding place no longer a secret-- it certainly wasn't Santa who came calling.

"We are excited that we have them back in custody to be honest with you we will breathe a lot easier when they are back in this country , that we have them locked up in Tarrant County that’s the ultimate goal," said Sheriff Dee Anderson.

To help track down fugitives on the run the U.S. Marshal's Services has several regional task force teams. Last year almost 105-thousand fugitives were captured. Some were located hiding out in urban settings -- others have been found in remote areas like camp grounds.

The teams of specialized trackers include local authorities. Here in Texas, the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force has members from area police departments like APD, Round Rock and Cedar Park.

Chief Sean Mannix has two CPPD officers working part time with the group.

"So that Intel sharing is really an important piece."
         
Chief Mannix says it’s surprising how so many fugitives believe they can out run the Marshals. About 400 fled the U.S. in 2014. The top 4 countries for fleeing felons last year were; Colombia (136), Canada (55), Mexico (45), and the Dominican Republic ( 22).

"Well that is flawed reasoning if you think you can just cross the border and be free from justice in the country you fled because, one with some countries we do have extradition agreements with, other countries we don’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get you back through working with that government,” said Chief Mannix.

An example of that cooperation - is Vontray Clark. He was returned to Central Texas by authorities in Bali after he was linked to the murder of his girlfriend. Another high profile case involved Colton Pitonyak and Laura Hall. The notorious couple fled to Mexico during the west campus murder investigation of Jennifer Cave. Their life of fun south of the border didn't last very long.

"And I think the thing that really strikes me about the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force is their tenacity. They are not letting you go once they get on your trail they are going to keep tracking you until they got you,” said Chief Mannix.

While that’s a promise Ethan Couch and his mother can now attest to, others are still in hiding.  One of the most prominent local fugitives still on the run is a Hindu Guru know as Swami Ji. He was convicted by a Hays County jury on 20 counts of indecency with a child. Federal agents believe his followers helped him slip into Mexico and then later to India on a fake passport.

Extraditions from 2010 – 2014
Courtesy: U.S. Marshals Service

  • Albania  3
  • Argentina  4
  • Armenia  1
  • Aruba   1
  • Australia  4
  • Belgium  2
  • Bosnia   1
  • Brazil   2
  • Bulgaria  3
  • Canada  54
  • Colombia  136
  • Costa Rica  3
  • Croatia   1
  • Czech Republic 3
  • Denmark  2
  • Dominican Republic 22
  • England  1
  • Estonia  3
  • France   2
  • Georgia  1
  • Germany  12
  • Ghana   6
  • Greece   2
  • Guatemala  6
  • Haiti   2
  • Honduras  1
  • Hong Kong  1
  • Hungary  1
  • Israel   1
  • Italy   2
  • Jamaica  2
  • Japan   1
  • Kenya   1
  • Korea   1
  • Mexico   45
  • Moldova  1
  • Morocco  2
  • Netherlands  4
  • Panama  10
  • Peru   4
  • Poland   1
  • Romania  5
  • South Africa  1
  • Spain   20
  • Sweden  1
  • Thailand  2
  • United Kingdom 12
  • Uruguay  1

Total  397

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