Accidentally Released Murder Suspect Arrested at U.S.-Mexico Border

Johnny Mata, 32, was released from jail on April 4 due to a clerical error after being charged with the Christmas Eve 2010 murder of a father of three

A murder suspect mistakenly released from a Los Angeles jail last year due to a clerical error was arrested near the San Ysidro Port of Entry in south San Diego Wednesday, authorities confirmed.

Johnny Mata, 32, was located, detained and escorted by Mexican authorities to the port of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border. There, deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) were waiting to take him into custody.

According to the LASD, the large-scale search for Mata indicated the suspect had likely fled to Mexico. Los Angeles County law enforcement collaborated with U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to determine the whereabouts of Mata.

That critical information was then shared with Mexican authorities, ultimately leading to Mata’s capture and arrest.

Officials said Mata was re-booked into the Los Angeles County Jail system. He’s being held on $2,065,000 bail.

Mata was arrested on May 25, 2012, by the El Monte Police Department on an unrelated assault in Baldwin Park. While in custody, he was charged with a 2010 gang-related murder of a father of three.

The LASD said a murder charge for Mata’s case had been filed by the District Attorney, but a processing clerk failed to put a “hold” on Mata’s record. He was accidentally released from jail and had been at large for the past month.

An LASD spokesperson attributed the mistake to a staffing shortage and said the accidental release was under investigation, KNBC reported.

Earlier this week, officials released a description of Mata in an effort to track him down.

Contact Us