Genaro Espinosa Dorantes, 35, was taken into custody Saturday in the border city of Tijuana, according to the FBI, although Mexico's Attorney General's Office could not immediately confirm the report of his arrest.
"This weekend, thanks to the cooperation of law enforcement officials in Mexico and the United States, one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives is now off of the streets," U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza said in a statement.
Garza noted that Espinosa Dorantes, whose alleged crime was featured on the U.S. television program America's Most Wanted, is charged with burning, beating and torturing to death Luis Osvaldo Cisneros, his girlfriend's four-year-old son. The boy's body was found dumped in a park in Nashville, Tennessee on Feb. 23, 2003.
The child's mother, Martha Cano Patlan, agreed to cooperate with police and was taken into custody Feb. 20 in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico.
The child's autopsy showed he suffered from battered child syndrome, was scalded, suffered infected burns from the waist down and had internal head injuries.
Garza said that two Mexican police agencies — the Federal Investigative Agency and the Baja California state Judicial Police, as well as the FBI, were involved in the arrest.
"The United States, and especially the people of Tennessee, are very grateful for the efforts of these law enforcement officers," Garza said.
Garza noted that the extradition process can be lengthy, even after the United States presents all the necessary paperwork in the case, something it has 60 days to do.
"Although the extradition process often takes more than six months to a year to complete, Espinosa Dorantes is now in a federal prison in Mexico City and will remain there until he is returned to the United States," Garza said.
Espinosa Dorantes faces first-degree murder charges in the boy's death. While Mexico's Supreme Court recently ruled the country can extradite suspects who face life imprisonment abroad, Mexico still refuses to extradite those who face a possible death penalty.
In such cases, U.S. prosecutors usually provide written assurance they will not seek the death penalty, in order to win the extradition.
Nashville police said on Monday the two suspects have been in Mexico since the investigation started in 2003, and that Espinosa Dorantes was apparently smuggling illegal immigrants into Tennessee at the time of the murder.