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Reputed gang member, wanted for attack on L.A. deputies, arrested in Mexico

Emigdio Preciado Jr., listed as one of the FBI's 10 most wanted, will be returned to U.S. for trial.

July 21, 2009|Scott Glover

An alleged Whittier gang member wanted in an attack on two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies nearly nine years ago has been arrested in Mexico, authorities announced Monday.

Emigdio Preciado Jr., who had been listed as one of the FBI's 10 most wanted, was arrested Friday night in the rural town of Corral Piedras, officials said.

The community is in Nayarit state, along Mexico's central coast.

He was arrested by Mexican federal police after a tip by U.S. authorities.

Preciado is charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution in connection with the attack on Sept. 5, 2000, on deputies Michael Schaap and David Timberlake.

According to authorities, the deputies were on patrol in Whittier that morning and attempted to pull over a Chevy van because its headlights were not working properly.

The van came to an abrupt stop and a passenger, later identified as Preciado, allegedly opened fire with an automatic weapon.

He was wanted on a parole violation stemming from a drug conviction at the time of the shooting, authorities said.

Schaap was shot in the forehead but survived. Timberlake was not injured.

Preciado remains in custody in Mexico. He is expected to be transferred to Mexico City soon so authorities can begin extradition proceedings.

Sal Hernandez, the FBI's top agent in Los Angeles, likened Preciado's arrest to "finding a needle in a haystack."

He said it demonstrated the perseverance of authorities on both sides of the border.

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scott.glover@latimes.com

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