SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A suspect who has been on the run for almost nine years according to officials was extradited on January 30, 2019, back to the United States on sexual assault charges.
Officials said Efren Ortiz-Gonzalez, of West Jordan, has been on the run since February of 2010 since a warrant was issued for his arrest in Salt Lake County on charges of aggravated sexual abuse and rape of a child.
Gonzalez was in the United States illegally prior to the alleged crimes he committed. He fled to his home country of Mexico where he lived in hiding for the last nine years.
The West Jordan Police Department enlisted the help of the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Apprehension Team (VFAST) to find Gonzalez. They found that he was hiding in Mexico but did not know his exact location right away.
Authorities said they sent a request for extradition to the government of Mexico, but Gonzalez still remained on the run.
After a lengthy investigation, Gonzalez was arrested by the Mexican Federal Police in Mexico City, Mexico on March 14, 2018. Officials said he remained in custody in Mexico until January 30, 2019. He was then turned over to the U.S. Marshals at the Mexico City International Airport by Interpol Mexico and the Mexican Federal Police and extradited back to Salt Lake City.
Officials emphasized that this case shows the cooperation between federal and state agencies
and the cooperation of the Mexican government to bring wanted fugitives hiding in Mexico back into the
U.S. Marshal Matthew D. Harris also stated, “fugitives often think they can commit these heinous crimes in the United States and then escape to their native country, but US Marshals are determined to work with our international partners and give these victims of violent crime the justice they deserve.”
Gonzalez has been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail awaiting proceedings on aggravated sexual abuse and rape charges.