Ethan Couch Gets High-Profile Mexican Attorney

Tijuana lawyer known for winning big cases


A high-profile Mexican attorney known for winning big cases confirmed Friday he is representing Ethan Couch, the "affluenza" teen from North Texas jailed in Mexico.

Fernando Benitez, of Tijuana, said in a Twitter message to NBC 5 that he wants to make sure the 18-year-old is treated lawfully.

"My interest is that if they are looking for his extradition to the United States, that it proceeds only according to the Constitution and the law," he wrote in Spanish.

He did not immediately respond to a question about who is paying him.

Couch and his mother Tonya were arrested in Puerto Vallarta on Monday. Tonya Couch was deported to the United States late Wednesday and remains detained in Los Angeles pending a hearing Monday or Tuesday.

The younger Couch remains in detention in Mexico City. His extradition was blocked when Benitez filed an appeal.

According to Mexican news reports, Benitez represented former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon when he was arrested on weapons charges. Guns found inside Rhon’s home were linked to several murders, authorities said.

Rhon argued that police never had a search warrant to search the house so everything they found was inadmissible in court, and according to the reports, a judge agreed and the charges were dropped.

Asked Friday if Benitez was the same attorney who represented Rhon, he said, "Yes, I had the privilege of representing Mr. Hank in 2011, with good results."

In 2014, Benitez also represented U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, arrested for crossing the border into Mexico with three weapons in his truck. After 214 days in jail, prosecutors dropped the charges and he was freed.

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