Comments Off on Gwinnett County Fugitive, Ivan Gonzalez, Arrested: Murder Charges Stem from Methamphetamine House Fire That Killed 3 Young Children 4 Years Ago

The Gwinnett County fugitive who had been on the lam since fleeing a burning meth house that killed three young children four years ago has been apprehended, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday afternoon.2015045536c2dc5707f

Ivan Gonzalez was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail after being extradited from Mexico, sheriff’s office spokesperson Deputy Shannon Volkoday said in a news alert.

Gonzelez was wanted on charges stemming from a February 2011 house fire near Lilburn, where 21-month-old Stacy Brito, 3-year-old Jose Ivan Guevara and 4-year-old Isaac Guevara perished. Police said the house in the Spring Mill subdivision — which has since been demolished — burned after an explosion and resulting fire that was caused by a meth-making operation.

Gonzalez, who fled the scene before rescue crews arrived, faces three counts of murder, three counts of first-degree arson/endangering human life, and single counts of trafficking in methamphetamine, trafficking in marijuana and possession of meth.

He was one of three adults in the suspected meth house at the time of the fire. The other two, mother Neibi Brito and Joseph Perez, have already accepted plea deals and were sentenced to 50 years in prison.2015045536c2dcdd453

The incident left an indelible mark on the community members, who found some closure when they watched the house get bulldozed to the ground a year later. Now, the once tragic scene is only a grass-covered empty lot at the entrance to the subdivision off Five Forks Trickum Road.

“Ivan Gonzalez came to this country illegally where he manufactured and distributed drugs, caused the death of three innocent young children and stained the neighborhood where he burned a house down,” Gwinnett Sheriff Butch Conway said in a statement. “Then, like the cockroach that he is, he fled back to his home country to avoid prosecution for the crimes that he committed here. I am glad to welcome him back to America, where I hope he spends the rest of his natural life behind bars.”

The arrest was the product of a joint effort between the sheriff’s office and the U.S. Marshals Office. More from the news alert:

Through the course of their investigation, investigators from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office developed leads that Ivan Gonzalez had fled to the Apatzingan, Michoacan area in Mexico, his native country. Working with the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office, investigators obtained a Provisional Arrest Warrant through the Department of Justice.

In September 2014, Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office deputies received notification from the U.S. Marshals Service Mexico Foreign Field Office that Ivan Gonzalez had been taken into custody by Mexican authorities in the city of Uruapan, Michoacan.

“Today’s arrest was a direct result of the cooperation between state, local and federal law enforcement agencies,” U.S. Marshals Task Force Commander Keith Booker said. “We can’t change what happened, but we can make sure that those responsible are held accountable.”

At the time of the fire, police investigators found more than $192,000 in U.S. currency, 4,555 grams of liquid methamphetamine and about a pound of finished methamphetamine. Police estimated that four pounds of meth were burned in the fire.

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