San Diego’s Cross Border Violent Crimes Task Force explained Thursday how US federal agents are working with Mexican law enforcement to track down fugitives.
Fugitives like Tobias Dustin Summers, wanted in connection with the kidnapping and assault of 10-year-old Northridge girl, was found in a rehab facility in a small town south of Tijuana. Mexican National Police handed him over to police Wednesday in San Ysidro at the US-Mexico border.
“Our office has done an outstanding job at establishing relationships with Mexican authorizes and really tracking down fugitives and tracking down criminal that try to hide there,” said FBI special agent Eric Drickersen, who is a supervisor for the cross border violent crime task force.
Drickersen works closely with Mexican intelligence and law enforcement agencies and said Mexico is no longer an easy hiding place for fugitives.
“There is this idea sometimes that fugitive and criminals can seek safe haven in Mexico and that’s just not true,” he said.
All along the southern west border, including Arizona and Texas, the FBI has established strategic border liaison officers. It’s their exclusive job to maintain good relations with their Mexican counterparts through training, intelligence gathering and information sharing.
“Our ability to not only understand the culture and their legal system, but also develop those relationships,” Drickersen said. “Our international presence is increasingly important either for finding a fugitive that leaves the U.S. seeking safe haven in another country or for organizations that are running multinational crime efforts.”
It’s estimated in California there are about a dozen outstanding fugitives believed to be in Mexico.