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SAN DIEGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana took an 18-year-old fugitive, wanted in Wisconsin for homicide and on the run for over a year, into custody on Monday evening. 

The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force had previously named the fugitive as one of Wisconsin’s “Most Wanted” after he and another teen were accused of shooting and killing a person in Milwaukee on Feb. 6, 2021.  According to the U.S. Marshals Service, the pair went through an app to purchase and sell goods, looking to purchase some designer glasses.  The victim of the shooting, a 22-year-old graduate of UW Whitewater, agreed to meet the suspects, who messaged him under a false name. Surveillance video captured the suspects driving away without paying for the frames. The victim, Purcell Pearson, held onto the van until someone inside opened fire.

“CBP officers at our land border crossings never know who they are going to encounter, when the next traveler steps forward for inspection,” said Anne Maricich, Deputy Director of the San Diego Field Office for CBP.  “In this case, this 18-year-old has been on the run for over a year, hoping to avoid facing the charges against him.  I hope that by bringing in this young man, we can not only provide comfort to those who knew the victim, but also to all that CBP will ensure that fugitives will not go free and will instead face their day in court.”

At about 4:30 p.m. on May 9, the teenaged fugitive from the shooting arrived on foot at the San Ysidro port of entry, seeking to enter the U.S. from Mexico.  The CBP officer completing his inspection for entry into the U.S. ran a routine inquiry through law enforcement databases and discovered an active felony warrant for his arrest, and that he should be considered to be possibly armed and dangerous.  Following standard safety protocols, CBP officers confirmed that he was not carrying any weapons at the border crossing and took the teenager into custody without incident.

Using his fingerprints, CBP officers confirmed that the teen was Ismael Eli Moreno Jr., a United States Citizen, with an active, no-bail, felony warrant issued for homicide out of Milwaukee.  U.S. Marshals had already taken another suspect from the Feb. 6 shooting into custody in Michigan, and had been searching for Moreno Jr., offering a reward in July 2021 for any information that may lead to his arrest.

On Monday, CBP officers arrested the outstanding fugitive; he was booked into the San Diego County Jail.

Criminal charges are merely allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

CBP officers at the border crossings in Southern California routinely stop illegal activity, while processing millions of legitimate travelers into the United States. 

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