Convicted child rapist Adrian Cruz is back in Phoenix, following a six-year vacation from his lifetime sentence behind bars, a vacation he owes to the negligence of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's boys and girls in beige.
Cruz, who escaped from MCSO custody in 2009, was arrested in April by Mexican police, after the U.S. Marshals Service tipped them off that the former paletas peddler was hiding out in Valle de Bravo, a small municipality about 90 miles west of Mexico City.
As a result, the 34-year-old bisexual pedophile was collared and has spent the last seven months incarcerated in Mexico, awaiting extradition back to Arizona.
He arrived November 19 at Sky Harbor Airport via a commercial flight, with three beefy marshals watching the cuffed and shackled prisoner's every move.
In a press release announcing Cruz's return, U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales thanked the deputy U.S. Marshals assigned to the case. He also thanked "our Mexican law enforcement partners for never giving up on finding and arresting Cruz in Mexico."
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is quoted in the same press release praising the U.S. Marshals Service for its "diligence . . . in locating this Defendant and ensuring his return to face justice."
Unfortunately, Cruz first will head back to MCSO custody, according to the Marshals Service, before he is transferred to the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Which is hardly reassuring, considering the MCSO's track record in this case.
See, in 2009, Cruz was doing life for raping and impregnating the 9-year-old daughter of his girlfriend in his ice cream van, where he would take the child for rides.
While in stir, authorities matched Cruz's DNA to two other rapes. He was on trial for those when sheriff's deputies shackled Cruz to the floor during a lunch break.
Whatever the MCSO's best and brightest were doing at that time — copping a smoke break or watching their fingernails grow — they weren't paying attention to Cruz, who used the heavy gel in his hair to grease his hands and wrists and slip off the cuffs.
Cruz was already wearing civilian clothes for court. He paused to swipe a judge's leather jacket, then strolled out of the courthouse like it was another day at the park.
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Press reports from 2009 state that 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.
Arpaio's always been more concerned about cracking down on puppy mills or retaliating against judges than keeping those who prey on children behind bars.
Still, Cruz's escape was a major embarrassment for "America's toughest sheriff."
So watch for Arpaio to spin this story to benefit himself in some way, if he can.