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Fugitive in Salt Lake salon killing is returned from Mexico

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Late Tuesday night, the man charged with killing a Glendale salon store owner in 2007 and then fleeing to Mexico in an attempt to avoid prosecution, was returned to Utah.

Miguel Mateos-Martinez had been on the run since Aug. 15, 2007, when Faviola Hernandez, the owner of Bushwacker Salon, 1329 W. 1300 South, was shot and killed during a robbery of her store.

The get-away driver in that shooting, Jesus Alarcon Jimenez, 22, was arrested and convicted in 3rd District Court of murder earlier this year. Martinez, however, fled to Mexico and was not captured for 11 months.

On July 15, Salt Lake police announced a major break in the case, saying U.S. marshals had arrested Martinez near Ensenada, Mexico. Tuesday night, Marshals returned Martinez to Salt Lake City. The return was a result of vastly improved relations between Mexico and the United States in recent years, said Billy Sorukas, the chief for domestic investigation at the U.S. Marshal's Service headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The program that has been developed between the marshal's office and Mexican authorities, who are the equivalent of the Mexican FBI, resulted in a task force being created to help state and local agencies that don't have the resources to work cases in which the suspects flee to another country.

"Just because that person flees their local jurisdiction and flees to another country, we don't stop looking," Sorukas said. "The relationship with Mexico has really never been better as far as working with people down there and going through the legal process and getting (suspects) back."

Last year, the marshal's service extradited about 850 wanted felons from Mexico and expected to reach about 1,000 this year. That's compared to the year 2000, when approximately 150 people were extradited.

Even Mexican nationals are being extradited more easily from Mexico into the United State to face charges under the new working agreement. Likewise, if there are Mexican nationals in the U.S. wanted in their home country, the agreement allows for those people to also be returned quickly.

In March, Martinez was placed on the U.S. Marshals' 15 Most Wanted Fugitives list, the first time a person from Utah has ever been named to the file. After his arrest, Martinez was taken to a jail in Mexico City.

Putting Martinez on the Marshals' Most Wanted list was a big help, said Salt Lake Police Sgt. Robin Snyder. She said the department was thankful for the marshals' efforts.

"We're pleased to get him extradited back to the United States so quickly. Hopefully this will help bring some closure to the family knowing he's back and going to stand trial," she said.

In July, Hernandez's family rejoiced and celebrated upon word of Martinez's arrest.

"In the future, people will know they can't go to Mexico to get away," Adolfo Hernandez, Faviola's uncle, said in July.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com