“They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists…” Donald Trump could just as easily have been talking about criminals from the United States crossing into Mexico when he uttered those infamous words back in June.
In separate incidents, two American fugitives accused of kidnap, torture, rape, and sexual battery of a minor have been arrested in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second biggest metropolis, and sent back to face justice in the United States in the past week.
On September 28, Paul Evren Jackson, 45, was arrested at a hotel in downtown Guadalajara by U.S. marshals and Mexican immigration officials after 24 years on the run. He stands accused of kidnapping several women, locking them in a “modern-day dungeon” and repeatedly raping them in Washington county, Oregon.
Then on October 6, police in St. Augustine, Florida, announced that 54-year-old George Catlett Getsinger had also been captured by U.S. marshals in Guadalajara. Getsinger has been charged with sexual battery of a child under the age of 12 committed in May this year.
Both suspects were immediately deported to their homeland, where they will face trial.
America’s most wanted
Jackson was the more notorious of the two fugitives, having allegedly kidnapped several prostitutes in the late 1988s with the help of his older brother, Vance Roberts. The brothers allegedly chained their victims to furniture and then raped and tortured them for days on end.
The pair were indicted in 1990 but the following year they skipped bail and went on the run.
Roberts, who was profiled on “America’s Most Wanted” over a decade ago, eventually gave himself up in 2006 and is now serving a 108-year prison term.
Jackson, who was living under the pseudonym Pablo Bennett Hamilton, was caught thanks to a tip-off after being profiled on an episode of CNN’s The Hunt.
“It’s what started this,” said Deputy Eric Wahlstrom of the U.S. Marshals. “It was a specific tip that came in right after (the episode) aired that led authorities to him in Guadalajara.”
Jackson was immediately deported and booked into the Los Angeles County Jail, where he awaits a hearing on his extradition to Oregon.
Another one down
Days later, U.S. marshals located Getsinger with the help of the Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force. U.S. authorities had tracked him to Laredo, Texas, after the alleged sexual battery of a minor committed in St. Augustine in May, only to lose track of his movements after he crossed into Mexico.
Court records show Getsinger’s criminal history includes charges of aggravated stalking and assault and six violations of injunctions for protection against domestic violence. Having been flown back to Miami and formally charged, he will now face trial in St. Augustine.
American fugitives are likely drawn to Mexico by its proximity to the United States and the knowledge that it has one of the world’s highest impunity rates, with as many as 98.5 percent of all crimes going unpunished.
The western city of Guadalajara is an ideal location for fugitives to hide out in as over four million people reside in the metropolitan area, while nearby Lake Chapala is home to Mexico’s largest North American expat community.