Murder suspect Gregorio Zavala in a two-decade-old Las Cruces cold case was arrested in Mexico and extradited to the U.S., officials said.
Zavala, 43, had been wanted since Jan. 7, 1994, in connection with the killing of 21-year-old Ricardo Soria during a house party in the 800 block of Arizona Street in Las Cruces, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.
Soria was attempting to break up a fight at the party when Zavala allegedly shot him at point-blank range, resulting in Soria’s death.
Zavala was 19 years old at the time of the fatal shooting. He had been on the run for more than 24 years.
After law enforcement officials were unable to find Zavala, the FBI filed federal charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution against him in 1995.
Mexican law enforcement officials arrested Zavala on Wednesday in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, FBI Albuquerque Division officials said.
He was extradited to El Paso with an initial hearing scheduled Friday at the Albert Armendariz Sr. U.S. Federal Courthouse in Downtown.
A detention hearing is set for Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert F. Castañeda.
FBI officials said Zavala “eventually will be turned over to local authorities” to face a first-degree murder charge in Las Cruces.
In 2016, New Mexico Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office officials released an age-progression composite sketch of Zavala of what he would look like since the killing took place.
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