United States District Court, D. Colorado
IN THE MATTER OF THE EXTRADITION OF GABRIEL RODRIGUEZ CARO, a/k/a “EL GÜERO”
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
KATHLEEN M. TAFOYA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on the Extradition Request
filed by the United States on behalf of the United Mexican
States (“Mexico”), seeking to extradite
Respondent Gabriel Rodriguez Caro, a United States citizen,
to Mexico for the aggravated kidnapping of Marlene Paola
Ramos Ortega. For the reasons set forth below, the
Extradition Request is GRANTED, and
Respondent is CERTIFIED as extraditable.
request by Mexico to extradite an individual from the United
States to that foreign country is governed by the provisions
of the federal extradition statute, 18 U.S.C. §§
3181-3196, and the Extradition Treaty Between the United
States of America and the United Mexican States dated May 4,
1978, 31 U.S.T. 5059, TIAS 9656 (“Extradition
Treaty”). The extradition process is initiated by
Complaint for Arrest for the purposes of Extradition filed by
the United States of America (“United States” or
“Government”), and an arrest warrant. 18 U.S.C.
§ 3184. Pursuant to the Extradition Treaty, the
diplomatic note and the other supporting documentation were
bates labeled with pages 1- 651 and timely produced to the
Respondent on May 24, 2017. [Doc. No. 25 at 1.] See In re
Extradition of Figueroa, Case No. 12-M-269, 2013 WL
3243096, at *2 (N.D. Ill. June 26, 2013). Article 10 of the
Extradition Treaty requires the formal extradition request to
include the following:
a) A statement of the facts of the case;
b) The text of the legal provisions describing the essential
elements of the offense;
c) The text of the legal provisions describing the punishment
for the offense;
d) The text of the legal provisions relating to the time
limit on the prosecution or the execution of the punishment
of the offense;
e) The facts and personal information of the person sought
which will permit his identification and, where possible,
information concerning his location.
[Doc. No. 25-1, 26]. In addition, when the extradition
request relates to an individual who has not yet been
convicted of a crime, it must also include (1) a certified
copy of the warrant of arrest issued by a judge or other
judicial officer of the requesting Party; and (2) evidence
which, in accordance with the laws of the requested Party,
would justify the apprehension and commitment for trial of
the person sought if the offense had been committed there.
[Id. at ¶ 3]. According to the Extradition
Treaty, the documents from Mexico must be presented in
English, the language of the United States. [Id. at
next phase of the extradition process is the extradition
hearing, which is conducted by the federal court to consider
the evidence presented by Mexico through the United States.
The extradition hearing is not a criminal trial, and the
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure do not apply. Fed. R.
Crim. P. 1. Rather, the purpose of such hearing is to
determine whether there is competent evidence to justify
holding the individual to await trial, and not to determine
whether the evidence is sufficient to justify a conviction.
See Peters v. Egnor, 888 F.2d 713, 717 (10th Cir.
1989). Specifically, under the federal extradition statute,
this court hears evidence and determines whether the evidence
presented is sufficient to support a finding of probable
cause that the person charged committed the extraditable
offense. 18 U.S.C. § 3184; In re Extradition of
Vargas, 978 F.Supp.2d 734, 739 (S.D. Tex. 2013). The
court is not authorized under the Extradition Treaty to make
a finding of guilt or innocence, and therefore, the
Government is not required to present evidence sufficient to
principles guide this court's inquiry at the extradition
hearing. First, extradition treaties, unlike criminal
statutes, are generally construed liberally in favor of
enforcement. See Factor v. Laubenheimer, 290 U.S.
276, 293-94 (1933) (“In choosing between conflicting
interpretations of a treaty obligation, a narrow and
restricted construction is to be avoided as not consonant
with the principles deemed controlling in the interpretation
of international agreements. Considerations which should
govern the diplomatic relations between nations, and the good
faith of treaties, as well, require that their obligations
should be liberally construed so as to effect the apparent
intention of the parties to secure equality and reciprocity
under the rule of non-inquiry, the court refrains from
investigating the fairness of Mexico's justice system,
and from inquiring into the procedures or treatment which
await Respondent if he is returned to Mexico. See Smith
v. United States, 82 F.3d 964, 965 (10th Cir. 1996);
In re Extradition of Chan Seong-I, 346 F.Supp.2d
1149, 1157 (D.N.M. 2004). Under the general rule of
non-contradiction, Respondent has no right to pose questions
of credibility regarding Mexico's witnesses, but only to
explain away or completely rebut probable cause for the
purpose of the extradition hearing. In re Extradition
Vargas, 978 F.Supp.2d at 748.
the Federal Rules of Evidence do not control the
admissibility of evidence in an extradition hearing.
See Fed. R. Evid. 1101(d). Instead, under federal
extradition law, the admissibility of evidence is controlled
by 18 U.S.C. § 3190 and the Extradition Treaty. Section
Depositions,  warrants, or other papers or copies
thereof offered in evidence upon the hearing of any
extradition case shall be received and admitted as evidence
on such hearing for all the purposes of such hearing if they
shall be properly and legally authenticated so as to entitle
them to be received for similar purposes by the tribunals of
the foreign country from which the accused party shall have
escaped, and the certificate of the principal diplomatic or
consular officer of the United States resident in such
foreign country shall be proof that the same, so offered, are
authenticated in the manner required.
18 U.S.C. § 3190. Article 10(6)(b) of the Extradition
In the case of a request emanating from the United Mexican
States, they are certified by the principle [sic] diplomatic
or consular officer of the United States in Mexico.
[Doc. No. 25-1, 27 at ¶ 6(b)]. Once the papers are
certified by the diplomatic officer, they are considered
properly authenticated and admissible. See Collins v.
Loisel, 259 U.S. 309, 314 (1922). Neither federal
criminal law, nor state criminal law, has any import on the
admissibility of documents for the purpose of proving
probable cause in an extradition hearing. See
Escobedo, 623 F.2d at 1103.
court determines that there is probable cause to support the
underlying charge, the decision to extradite is left to the
discretion of the Secretary of State. See 18 U.S.C.
§ 3186. Therefore, it is the Secretary of State, not
this court, who considers whether an extradition request
should be denied due to humanitarian concerns. See In re
Extradition Mathison, 974 F.Supp.2d 1296, 1315 (D. Or.
this legal background, this court now turns to the request to
extradite Gabriel Rodriguez Caro a/k/a “El Guero”
to Mexico for the aggravated kidnapping of Marlene Paola
Ramos Ortega on August 5, 2014.
to the warrant of arrest the following are the facts of the
On August 5, 2014, Patricia Ortega Amparan and Ramiro Ramos
Peregrino initiated a complaint regarding their daughter,
Ramos Ortega, with whom they had last been in contact on
August 1, 2014. Ortega Amparan and Ramos Peregrino advised
that at about 7:23 a.m. on August 2, 2014, they received a
text message that read, “we have kidnapped your
daughter pay up or we will kill her do not talk to the police
or we will kill her.” At 12:09 p.m. the same day, they
received a telephone call in which the kidnappers requested
350, 000 Mexican pesos for the ransom of Ramos Ortega.
to Ortega Amparan and Ramos Peregrino, ransom negotiations
continued until August 4, 2014, when the kidnappers agreed to
accept 62, 550 Mexican pesos for the ransom of Ramos Ortega.
The kidnappers instructed Ortega Amparan and Ramos Peregrino
to put the money, along with cell phones, jewels, and
laptops, inside a bag, go to a specified location, and then
call the kidnappers in order to agree on a subsequent
location to deliver the ransom. At the same time, the
kidnappers said they would hand over Ramos Ortega. Ramos
Peregrino arrived at the location at approximately 11:00
p.m., dialed the kidnappers cell phone, and did as
instructed. Approximately 25 minutes after hanging up with
the kidnappers, Ramos Peregrino received a telephone call
from the police telling him that they had apprehended Marcos
Humberto Reyes Reyes, who had picked up the bag containing
the ransom money, and informed her parents that Ramos Ortega
had been murdered.
November 9, 2014, after having been a fugitive for a period
of time, Ivan Gonzalez Rodriguez (a/k/a el negro), a
confessed member of the group who kidnapped and killed Ramos
Ortega, provided a confession to the Public Prosecutor from
the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Chihuahua.
In his confession, González Rodríguez stated
that on August 1, 2014, he and Rodríguez Caro decided
to kidnap Ramos Ortega. In accordance with the plan,
Rodríguez Caro called Ramos Ortega and asked her to
accompany him to collect money he was owed. Ramos Ortega
agreed to meet Rodríguez Caro at an agreed location at
4:30 p.m. on that date. Rodríguez Caro and
González Rodríguez went to the location, and
ultimate victim Ramos Ortega picked them up in her car. The
group then picked up Marcos Humberto Reyes Reyes and went to
a residence under the pretense that they were going to talk.
Once at the residence, Marcos Humberto Reyes Reyes struck
Ramos Ortega in the head with a bottle, and Rodríguez
Caro and González Rodríguez tied her feet,
arms, and head with tape. Rodríguez Caro also took
Ramos Ortega's wallet and cellular telephone.
González Rodríguez further stated that on
August 2, 2014, Marcos Humberto Reyes Reyes called Ramos
Ortega's parents to demand ransom for their daughter.
Humberto Reyes Reyes and Rodríguez Caro engaged in
additional ransom negotiations with the victim's parents.
On August 3, 2014, González Rodríguez, Marcos
Humberto Reyes Reyes, and Rodríguez Caro killed Ramos
Ortega by placing plastic bags over her face and strangling
her with cables. According to González
Rodríguez, on August 4, 2014, Ramos Ortega's
parents requested proof that Ramos Ortega was alive.
González Rodríguez, Marcos Humberto Reyes
Reyes, and Rodríguez Caro took two photographs of
Ramos Ortega and Rodríguez Caro sent them to Ramos
Ortega's parents to convince them that their daughter was
alive. Ramos Ortega's parents agreed to deliver the
ransom money. Marcos Humberto Reyes Reyes, accompanied by his
two sisters, Jennifer Reyes Reyes and Itzel Reyes Reyes, went
to the agreed location to pick up the ransom.
Rodríguez Caro and González Rodríguez
remained hidden. Rodriguez Caro and González Rodriguez
fled the scene when Marcos Humberto Reyes Reyes was arrested.
his arrest at the scene of the ransom drop, on August 6,
2014, Marcos Humberto Reyes Reyes provided a sworn statement
to the Public Prosecutor. Marcos Humberto Reyes Reyes advised
that on August 1, 2014, Rodríguez Caro asked him for
assistance in picking up a bag with money from a ransom for a
girl (Ramos Ortega). According to Marcos Humberto Reyes
Reyes, Ramos Ortega was held captive at a residence with her
hands, feet, eyes, and mouth bound by tape. Marcos Humberto
Reyes Reyes stated that Ramos Ortega was killed because she
knew both Rodríguez Caro and González
Rodríguez because they were her neighbors.
to Marcos Humberto Reyes Reyes, on August 4, 2014,
Rodríguez Caro instructed Marcos Humberto Reyes Reyes
to pick up the bag with the ransom money. Marcos Humberto
Reyes Reyes asked his sisters, Jennifer Reyes Reyes and Itzel
Arely Reyes Reyes, to accompany him. When they arrived at the
location to ...