By Jim Kouri
Joshua Moses Morales of San Diego was extradited to Mexico on Thursday, where he is expected to be tried for the alleged 2009 murder and rape of a toddler in Tijuana, Baja California, according to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
According to the extradition request submitted by the Mexican government, the 36-year old Morales is charged with aggravated homicide after allegedly sexually abusing and killing the two-year old daughter of his girlfriend on February 6, 2009.
The alleged killing occurred when the girlfriend was at work and had left her daughter with Morales at their Tijuana apartment. Later that evening, the toddler was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead due to alleged severe bodily trauma from the rape.
Morales, who is a U.S. citizen, then allegedly fled to the United States.
U.S. Marshals Service deputies arrested Morales in Corcoran, California, in February 2010. In April 2011, following an extradition hearing in federal court in Fresno, California, the court certified his extradition to Mexico.
Morales’ defense attorney then filed a writ of habeas corpus challenging the court’s findings and his continued detention, and the court denied that writ in this month.
“Continued cooperation with Mexican law enforcement agencies to improve public safety in both countries has been a priority for the U.S. Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner. “This case exemplifies that kind of cooperation. By working together, we ensure that fugitives cannot evade justice simply by crossing the border.”
“We will continue to work with Mexican authorities to ensure that dangerous criminals are not allowed to seek safe haven in Mexico or the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. “The extradition of Mr. Morales reflects the Justice Department’s steadfast commitment to our law enforcement partnership with Mexico.”
While Breuer has been praised for his work on such extradition cases, he is still undergoing scrutiny by the U.S. Congress regarding his role in a gun-smuggling scandal dubbed Operation Fast and Furious.