A fugitive was returned to the United States yesterday evening, April 4, 2017, after six years on the run. Agents from the FBI’s Seattle Field Office escorted Juan Ortiz, 24, formerly of Tacoma, Washington, back from Mexico. Ortiz will face state charges of Murder in the First Degree, Assault in the First Degree, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the First Degree, filed by the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office (PCPO). The Superior Court of Washington for Pierce County issued a warrant for Ortiz’s arrest after the May 11, 2010, murder of Juan Zuniga and shooting of another victim in Tacoma, Washington.
Ortiz was taken into custody without incident in August 2016, in Mexico City, Mexico, by the Policía Federal Ministerial, in close coordination with the FBI Legal Attaché office at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Mexican authorities repatriated Ortiz yesterday morning, April 4, 2017, transferring him to FBI custody in Mexico City. FBI agents then transported Ortiz to Washington State, where he was booked in to the Pierce County jail.
Tacoma Police Department (TPD) conducted the investigation of Zuniga’s death and the related shooting that left a victim paralyzed. In the course of pursuing a separate FBI investigation, the FBI’s Tacoma Resident Agency—a part of the Seattle Field Office—developed information on Ortiz’s location. The FBI, TPD, and the PCPO routinely collaborate on cases like this one through the South Sound Cold Case Working Group.