Adrian Cruz, the child-raping ice cream peddler who escaped from MCSO custody in 2009, is back behind bars, no thanks to Sheriff Joe.
Mexican police, tipped off by the U.S. Marshals Service that Cruz was in Valle de Bravo, a small municipality about 90 miles west of Mexico City, nabbed the bisexual pedophile at a roadblock Monday night, after Cruz made a run for it.
Following a struggle, Cruz was identified by his tattoos, according to U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales: one of a rosary on the back of his left hand, and one on his belly that reads "Cruz." (Probably not the wisest tat choice, in hindsight.)
The marshals office has been on Cruz's tail ever since sheriff's deputies left him unattended in a court holding room in February 2009.
Back then, Cruz was already doing life for raping and impregnating the nine year-old daughter of his girlfriend in his ice cream van, where he would take the little girl for rides.
While in stir, authorities matched Cruz's DNA to two other rapes. He was on trial for those when he was shackled to the floor by sheriff's deputies during a lunch break.
But MCSO gendarmes were not around when Cruz freed himself of his restraints, exited the holding room, stole a judge's leather jacket to wear over the civilian garb he had on for the trial, and walked out of the courthouse like a regular schmo.
Gonzales says Cruz "pulled a Houdini" to get out of chains.
"He would style his hair with heavy duty gel," the marshal told me. "He used that gel to lubricate his hands and wrists, then he was able to slide the cuffs off."
According to press reports from 2009, Cruz was allowed a head start from sheriff's deputies, who did not alert other agencies that a dangerous child predator was on the loose till 90 minutes after the escape.
During a press conference Tuesday, Arpaio was asked by my colleague Dennis Welch at 3TV News if there had been any punishment for the deputies who allowed this monster to make his getaway.
As in much of his testimony during his federal contempt trial last week, Arpaio could not recall.
"You're talking six years ago," Arpaio responded. "I believe that was in the old courthouse. Right now we have a new courthouse, [which is] more secure. I don't know if there was any of what you would call 'punishment'...if there was discipline meted out, I don't know."
Welch persisted: "So a convicted child rapist just walks out and no punishment?"
"I said I don't know about punishment," Arpaio said. "People do escape around the country, murderers sometime escape. You know that."
Arpaio conceded that "one escape is one too many," and vowed that Cruz would not evade his crack team of beige-shirts ever again, particularly since the county now has a fancy new court tower.
Ironically, it was that new court tower that Arpaio used to gin up false bribery charges against former Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe.
Also, the court tower was at the center of a rambling, ill-defined conspiracy theory that became the subject of a bogus RICO suit, promulgated by Arpaio and his former fellow Sith Lord, now-disbarred county attorney Andy Thomas.
The RICO suit, like the charges against Donahoe, ultimately were dismissed as baseless.
And yet, Arpaio now touts the new court tower as a way to keep hard-core repeat offenders like Cruz from taking a stroll in the park like regular folk.
Or hoppin' a bus to the border.
Arpaio's primary law enforcement duty is as the county's jailer. Keeping scum like Cruz off the streets should be his priority.
But we all know Arpaio's priorities lay elsewhere, like investigating a federal judge's wife and chasing snipes with Seattle scammers.
Hunting down sex criminals? Not so much.
Meanwhile incompetence and outright corruption reign, and a convicted child rapist is allowed to roam the planet for six years.
One wonders how many kids Cruz sexually assaulted during that time.
"He was eatin' bologna back then," snarked Joe, referring to a much-publicized-but-meaningless switch in his jail's cuisine. "Now he can go eat the vegetarian food."
I'll bet Cruz was eating better than that on the lam.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Guess he owes you one, Joe.
Got a tip for The Bastard? Send it to: Stephen Lemons.