Immigration critics who contend that the U.S.-Mexican border is far too porous will likely gravitate to the case of Pedro Garcia-Gonzales, nineteen.
Since 2007, Garcia-Gonzales has allegedly been going back and forth between Colorado and Mexico, eluding authorities after him for suspicion of attempted murder. But his luck ran out this weekend as a result of a timely tip and the efforts of a SWAT team.
Commander Tim Lewis, spokesman for the Longmont Police Department, says "the original incident happened on November 10, 2007, at about one o'clock in the morning. There was a fight at the intersection of St. Clair and Alpine that allegedly involved Mr. Garcia-Gonzales. A male broke up that fight, and shortly after that, he was standing at his front door when the glass storm door was shot out. The adult male had a baggie sweatshirt on, and the bullet passed through the side of it -- but it didn't hit him."
This wasn't the only allegation against Garcia-Gonzales, although Lewis can't confirm a report that he also was wanted for firing a gun near his girlfriend and baby. In any event, Garcia-Gonzales fled, "and he's been going back and forth between here and Mexico" for the better part of three years, Lewis says.
The break in the case came as a result of a Crimestoppers tip. "We were told he'd come back and was in an apartment in the central part of Longmont. We had detectives and gang suppression officers doing surveillance, and after about five hours of work, they found him at a house at the 1100 block of Judson."
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According to Lewis, the house belonged to "an associate -- not even really a friend. Our detectives saw him in the backyard and set up a perimeter, but then he went back inside the house and wouldn't come out. When the SWAT team was called in, some people in the house came out and said he was trying to hide in a back bedroom. But after several commands, he came out and surrendered without incident."
Lewis says the LPD has been working with the Attorney General's office to track down Garcia-Gonzales in Mexico, but the information was never specific enough to accomplish that goal. Nonetheless, he says his department continues to have a good relationship with Mexican authorities, despite the widely reported lawlessness taking place south of the border. "They are definitely dealing with their own issues of criminal behavior down there," he acknowledges, "but when it comes to working with us, we still have some pretty open channels."
Immigration critics would likely suggest this openness also relates to the border.