At a Feb. 28 press conference at the Santa Cruz County Building, authorities from the Santa Cruz County District Attorney Office, the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) and the FBI reported the successful extradition and arrest of Ivan Tapia Ramirez. Ramirez was a suspect in the murder of 16-year-old Tyler Tenorio in 2009.

Extradition is a mutual act between two nations and their law enforcement agencies to return a felon back to the country where they committed a crime.

“If you run from Santa Cruz County, you’ll be found,” said Santa Cruz County District Attorney (DA) Jeff Rosell. “If you think that international borders are enough to not be held accountable, you’re wrong, and you will be brought to justice in Santa Cruz County.” 

Tenorio was fatally stabbed on the evening of October 16, 2009 outside the 7-Eleven on Laurel Street. The stabbing was later determined by SCPD to be the result of a gang-related altercation. Authorities identified five suspects involved in the case, and prosecuted and convicted three of them by July 2010. The other two suspects, Ramirez and Paolo Luna, fled to Mexico to avoid conviction.

The press conference, led by Santa Cruz County DA Jeff Rosell, SCPD deputy chief Rick Martinez and FBI special agent Rami Nimri, covered how these departments worked in conjunction with one another over the course of 10 years to successfully prosecute Ramirez. SCPD police Chief Andrew Mills and other FBI investigators also attended the conference. 

Martinez and Nimri explained how Mexican authorities apprehended and arrested 32-year-old Ramirez, a U.S. citizen, in Durango City and extradited him to the US on Feb. 27. 

FBI investigators and SCPD detectives met Ramirez at San Francisco International Airport and brought him to the Santa Cruz County jail the same day. Nimri said Ramirez is officially charged with first-degree murder, gang allegations and other miscellaneous special allegations. 

Although Nimri declined to disclose the tactics used by Mexican authorities to locate Ramirez, he commented on the unknown whereabouts of the fifth suspect in this case, Paolo Luna.

SCPD deputy chief Rick Martinez emphasized the steadfast collaboration between the Santa Cruz County DA Office, the SCPD, the FBI and Mexican authorities in finding Ramirez. He cited their cooperation and personal relationships as the primary factor in their success.

“This case had an incredibly great impact on our entire community,” said Santa Cruz County DA Jeff Rosell. “We’re glad to start moving forward to continue our work into the next phase of the trial.” 

The arraignment for Ramierez was scheduled for March 1, but was deferred at the request of his counsel in order to become more familiar with the case.