Former Mexican police officer arrested in Denver area as a suspect in aggravated homicide in Mexico in 2000

Denver, California - A former Mexican police officer, who is wanted by Mexican authorities for an aggravated homicide in January 2000, was arrested Tuesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

Jesus Gabriel Ibarra-Espinoza, 41, was arrested August 12 in Centennial, Colorado, by ERO's Denver Fugitive Operations Team. ERO's preliminary investigation determined that Ibarra-Espinoza was likely residing with his wife and family in Denver. The accompanying police report included witness statements, biometric information, and a photo.

The witness statement alleged that on Jan. 17, 2000 Ibarra-Espinoza was working as a police officer for the city Mocorito, Mexico, and assigned to a security detail at a local party. At about 1 a.m., Ibarra-Espinoza was observed by the witness as being possibly intoxicated and approaching two men who were conversing on the street. Ibarra-Espinoza allegedly used his assigned AR-15 police rifle to shoot one of the men, later identified as Adrian Almodovar-Villalba. Ibarra-Espinoza fled the scene and eventually abandoned his assigned weapons, police vehicle and police gear near the downtown area of Culiacan, Sinaloa.

"Our ERO officers ensure that dangerous fugitives don't use the United States as a safe haven from their crimes in other countries," said John Longshore, field office director for ERO Denver. "They provide a valuable public-safety service by removing dangerous criminal aliens from our communities."

After illegally entering the United States he used an alias when he was encountered by ICE and removed to Mexico in February 2000. He claims to have last entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico about May 4, 2000 at or near Calexico, California.

ICE issued Ibarra-Espinoza a notice to appear before an immigration judge. He is currently in ICE custody in deportation proceedings.

Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 720 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with ICE's Office of International Operations, foreign consular offices in the United States, and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.

Additional information