The arrest of a Tennessee woman wanted for murdering her fiance highlights the rigorous federal screening system at the US border with Mexico, officials said.
“During that inspection process, we basically query that individual through a variety of systems,” said Roger Maier, a spokesperson for US Customs and Border Protection in El Paso, Texas. “If there is any sort of a lookout associated with that individual, be it a warrant or something like that, the officers are notified and then take the appropriate protocols following the notification.”
Federal officers nabbed 41-year-old Gloria Villa Avila on Monday, Aug. 29, in the pedestrian lane of El Paso’s Paso Del Norte border crossing and took her into custody. The US citizen was wanted on a warrant out of Tennessee for allegedly killing Ismael Rodriguez, 44, in September of 2019 in Nashville’s Old Hickory neighborhood.
Nashville Metropolitan Police officials said Rodriguez’s skeletal remains had been found in Kentucky.
Maier told Coffee or Die Magazine that a routine screening by a CBP officer had flagged Villa Avila. Her name popped up in the National Crime Information Center database, which law enforcement agencies use to pool information about criminal suspects.
Federal officers at the border can use the database to verify whether a warrant is still active, contact the agency that issued it, and then see whether law enforcement still wants to detain the person.
Some people voluntarily surrender when they arrive at the border crossing, Maier said, but others are shocked to discover they’re wanted by authorities.
Maeir told Coffee or Die that Villa Avila was detained without incident, and that’s also what usually happens.
“The people don’t really challenge the officers in most cases,” he said.