Slain U.S. marshal found in Juarez had warrant for his arrest
by David Crowder
Posted on March 26, 2009
The U.S. Marshals Service confirmed the death and identity of a deputy marshal who was shot and killed in Juarez but not in the line of duty.
The deceased deputy marshal, Vicente Bustamante, was found dead yesterday (March 25, 2009) and submerged in a canal with a single gunshot to the back of his head, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. (The official statement of the U.S. Marshals Service is printed below this story)
Bustamante, 48, was a life-long El Pasoan, an 18-year veteran of the marshal’s service and a former El Paso police officer, the Marshal’s Service chief deputy for the Western District of Texas, Fernando Karl, said.
Karl said there was a warrant out for Bustamante’s arrest on theft of government property charges brought by the Office of Inspector General.
“He was supposed to appear in court on the 18th of this month on the criminal charges, but he did not appear,” Karl said. “We determined that he traveled to Mexico on the 17th, and that was the last anyone saw of him.
“He obviously was not on duty when he went over there.”
Regarding the specific nature of the charges against Bustamante, Karl said, “I believe he was pawning stuff and getting cash, things like binoculars, just to get some quick cash.”
He said Bustamante had no official reason to be in Juarez and that his family told officials he had no family or close friends across the border that he might be visiting.
Karl said Bustamante’s body was badly decomposed and it took until Wednesday to make positive identification.
Public confirmation of Bustamante’s death and identity came today after the family had been notified.
“At this point, our main concern is to assist the family in bringing the body back and getting closure,” Kark said. “Obviously, we’re going to work with other agencies and authorities on this.
“The FBI will be the lead on it because it involves the death of a federal law enforcement officer.”
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Statement from the U.S. Marshals office regarding the death of a man found in Juarez Wednesday:
The following may be attributed to U.S. Marshals spokesman Jeff Carter:
The body of Deputy U.S. Marshal Vincent Bustamante was discovered March 25 by authorities in Juarez, Mexico. The U.S. Marshals Service is cooperating with Mexican authorities and the FBI in the investigation into the death of Deputy Bustamante, and it would be premature at this time to address the potential outcome of that investigation. What I can tell you is that the U.S. Marshals Service is saddened by the death of Deputy Bustamante and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
There was an active warrant on Deputy Bustamante at the time of his death for his failure to appear in court on charges of criminal theft of public property. Deputy Bustamante was on a modified duty status as a result of these charges which limited his law enforcement role and required his weapon, credentials and badges be retained by his supervisor outside assigned work hours.
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