ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Federal police in Mexico arrested one of the U.S. Marshals Service 15 Most Wanted felons this week, who will quickly be extradited back to New Mexico as part of a joint agreement of cooperation between New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and Chihuahua Governor Cesar Duarte.
Word of the arrest of Edward Salas, came as Martinez and Duarte were hosting the 30th Annual Border Governors Conference in Albuquerque, N.M.
On Sept. 15, 2005, Salas, 24, along with his brothers Orlando Salas and Demetrio Salas and two other individuals, planned to murder Ruben Pérez, reportedly in retaliation for an argument that occurred earlier that day at the Clovis High School. Instead they killed his brother, Carlos, who was sleeping in the same bedroom. The child died just one day before his 11th birthday.
We will make sure Edward Salas takes his last breath in a New Mexico prison.
- Prosecutor Matthew Chandler
After being sentenced to life plus 56 years, Salas escaped from the Curry County Detention Center in Clovis, N.M., and fled to Mexico where he became involved as a hitman for the notorious Los Zetas Cartel.
He was added to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted in 2011 and had his escape appear on an episode of America's Most Wanted.
"Salas was captured after an exhaustive search which could not have been done without the assistance of Governor Duarte," Martinez said.
Announcing a "new time" in his state, Duarte said Salas's arrest is the first of what he hopes to be future mutual efforts to bring fugitives to justice.
"Governor Martinez had expressed her concerns about Salas and I told her Chihuahua won't be the neighbor where justice doesn't get served," Duarte said.
Martinez had been working closely with frustrated New Mexico prosecutor Matthew Chandler to locate and return Salas to New Mexico.
Chandler said his office had received credible tips for three years of sightings of Salas but because of his newly formed relationship as a hitman with Los Zetas, investigators had to tread lightly for their own safety.
"We were able to track his cell phone but investigators had to work carefully not to spook him or put any of our agents in danger," Chandler said.
Chihuahua officials said Salas is not wanted for any crimes in Mexico so his extradition will be much smoother. Because of the Martinez-Duarte pact, extraditions that once took years, or never happened, are expected to be accomplished in weeks.
"We will make sure Edward Salas takes his last breath in a New Mexico prison," Chandler said.
A formal date of extradition for Salas has yet to be set. Another international fugitive, Noe Torres, was also arrested in Mexico earlier this year.
Torres is also charged with the same 2005 murder as Salas. In 2005, Torres fled Clovis prior to prosecution and remained on the run for nearly six years. Torres was taken into custody in Chihuahua, Mexico, outside of a religious compound in the first week of January and extradited to the United States in July.
Joseph J. Kolb is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino.