DENVER – Attorney General John Suthers today announced that Oscar Hoyos DeLaCruz was arrested for the murder of Jeffrey Rando Garrett, which occurred on May 14, 2005. DeLaCruz was arrested in Sinaloa, Mexico on June 15, 2006. Jeff Garrett, 37, of Aurora, was shot while hunting in the East Elk Creek area of Garfield County.
“After an extensive search for DeLaCruz, I’m pleased to announce that he has been taken into custody by Mexican authorities,” said Suthers. “Thanks to the work of our Foreign Prosecutions Unit, DeLaCruz will face charges in Mexico for homicide and reckless abandonment.”
Attorney General Suthers was joined by Jeff Garrett’s widow, Charlotte Garrett, District Attorney Martin Beeson and Garfield County Under Sheriff Tim Templon at today’s announcement.
“Mother’s Day this year marked the first anniversary of the death of my husband, Jeff Garrett. For my children and me, this has been a year of tears and loss. It has also been a year full of unbelievable blessings and love which has given us the strength to persevere,” said Charlotte Garrett. “This past Sunday, Father’s Day was a day to remember what a loving Papa Jeff was and now it will also forever be a day to celebrate that our hopes and prayers for justice were answered.”
“I would like to thank the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Attorney General Suthers, especially criminal investigator LuzMaria Shearer, and the many law enforcement agents who have bravely and diligently worked to ensure that justice prevailed in the senseless death of my husband,” said Charlotte Garrett.
In another success for the Attorney General’s Foreign Prosecutions Unit, Attorney General Suthers also announced the arrest of Lazaro Rey-Muro on April 20, 2006 for the murder of Joel Gonzales-Lopez, his then roommate. The murder, which stemmed from an argument between the victim and the suspect, occurred on January 30, 1999 in Greeley Colorado. Shortly thereafter, Rey-Muro fled to Mexico to avoid arrest and prosecution. Rey-Muro is believed to have stabbed Gonzales-Lopez in excess of 150 times. Lazaro Rey-Muro is facing charges of first degree homicide.
“Today, justice has prevailed,” said Suthers. “For these two fugitives, fleeing to Mexico was not a way to avoid prosecution and punishment.”
The Greeley Police Department and the Weld County District Attorney’s Office led the Gonzales-Lopez investigation.
“Although this murder occurred seven-and-a-half years ago, our efforts never became stale,” said Jerry Garner, Chief of Police with the Greeley Police Department. “This case is also a testament to the excellent cooperation that exists between our law enforcement agencies.”
DeLaCruz will face a sentence of 12-24 years in a Mexican federal prison, whereas Rey Muro will face a sentence of 20-60 years.
In both of the aforementioned cases, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office filed an “Article IV prosecution” case with the Mexican Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduria General de la Republica). Through an agreement with the United States Government, Article IV of the Mexican Federal Penal Code provides that Mexico has the authority to prosecute certain crimes committed in the United States by Mexican nationals if the suspect is presently living in Mexico. Under Article IV, the U.S. Department of Justice or the State Attorney General on behalf of the local prosecutor must file the case with the Mexican government.
Colorado’s Foreign Prosecution Unit is responsible for eleven arrests since its inception in 2001. An additional six cases have been filed and are pending arrests.