One of America’s most wanted fugitives was caught in Mexico Friday morning after 24 years on the run.
Vincent Legrend Walters is wanted in San Diego for the September 1988 slaying of a woman kidnapped as part of a drug deal gone wrong. He also faces drugs and weapons charges.
The 45-year-old, who was apprehended in the Mexican resort city of Cancun, is on the U.S. Marshals Service’s list of 15 most wanted fugitives.
He is currently in Mexico City awaiting extradition to the U.S., according to the Marshals Service.
Authorities said Walters had been living in Mexico under the alias Oscar Rivera and working at the Cancun International Airport.
The Marshals Service said that Walters often “boasted to people that he was a fugitive from San Diego and wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service,” even though he was living under an alias.
An anonymous official at the airport told The Associated Press that Walters had not been officially employed by the airport. He was instead selling time-share vacation packages for a resort located in Puerto Morelos, south of Cancun, at an information booth in the airport for more than 10 years.
Walters, as a result, did not undergo the same rigorous security checks as actual airport employees.
The fugitive went on the run soon after he allegedly bought $20,000 worth of chemicals to make methamphetamine from undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agents in 1988, according to NBC News.
One of Walters’ associates was wary of holding onto the finished methamphetamine, so he passed it on to a San Diego dealer who later gave it to his friend Jay Bareno.
Walters eventually found the dealer and demanded that he return the drugs – but the dealer said they were gone.
Walters and his brother, Martin Walters, then reportedly kidnapped the dealer, the dealer’s friend and the friend’s girlfriend, offering to trade the hostages to Bareno in exchange for the drugs, NBC reported.
Vincent Walters released the dealer and his friend, but the woman, Christina Reyes, died “almost instantaneously” when she was gagged with a chemical-soaked rag, the Marshals Service said.
Martin Walters is currently serving 25 years to life in prison for the kidnapping and murder.
“Thanks to the hard work of our deputy U.S. marshals, local law enforcement and Mexican law enforcement partners, we were able to bring Walters in to face the consequences for his laundry list of accused crimes,” David Harlow, assistant director of the U.S. Marshals Service’s Investigative Operations Division said.