Suspect in 2000 massacre of Mexican city officials arrested in Sacramento

More than 13 years ago, Genaro Olaguez-Rendon moved with his four children to the Sacramento area from his home state of Sinaloa, Mexico.

In the years since, the 53-year-old Mexican citizen carved out a quiet life working as a landscaper, attending church and eventually settling into a cramped, two-bedroom rental home in North Sacramento, where he drew little attention to himself.

Until Tuesday.

Just after 3 p.m., a fugitive task force led by U.S. marshals confronted Olaguez-Rendon in his driveway and arrested him in connection with the May 2, 2000, massacre of eight municipal officials in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, as well as unrelated marijuana cultivation charges out of San Joaquin County.

The arrest came three months after Mexican officials approached U.S. authorities looking for help in finding Olaguez-Rendon, who apparently had blended seamlessly into everyday life in Sacramento, right down to the lighted reindeer and candy canes that adorned the front lawn of his home Wednesday.

Even his oldest son, 18-year-old Jair Olaguez, expressed bewilderment at the fact that his father had been arrested, much less implicated in an attack that allegedly involved assault-style weapons and killed a city commissioner and seven other city officials and wounded four others.

“He killed what?” his son asked when approached by a reporter at the family home on Grove Avenue on Wednesday. “No, I think they got the wrong person. He didn’t kill no one.”

The U.S. Marshals Service listed the suspect by the name Genaro Olaguez, but he was booked into the Sacramento County jail under the name Olaguez-Rendon, then transferred to San Joaquin County, where he was being held without bail in connection with charges of cultivating marijuana, possessing a firearm and theft of utility services. That case apparently stems from a raid earlier this year on six marijuana grow houses in Stockton linked to Olaguez-Rendon, according to a January report in The Record.

It was unclear Wednesday how Olaguez-Rendon could have faced charges for 11 months without being tied to the case in Sinaloa. He is scheduled to appear in court in Stockton this afternoon on the marijuana charges, but he also is expected to face deportation to Mexico in the Sinaloa case, authorities said.

Olaguez-Rendon had been under surveillance by the task force and offered no resistance when approached Tuesday, said Deputy Frank Newsom of the U.S. Marshals Service in Sacramento.

He initially presented a phony identification card, but agents were having none of it, Newsom said.

“He’s been here for a very long time, and especially for an individual on the run that long you assume he’s gotten comfortable with those new identification documents,” Newsom said. “But we don’t stop looking for you.

“We’ll look until a body is found or until they turn the age of 100.”

The suspect’s son said he knew nothing about fake identity papers and that his father had lived in the Sacramento area under his own name.

“I think they’ve got wrong information or something,” he said. “The whole time he was using his own name for everything.”

U.S. officials had little information about the incident in Mexico, saying in a statement that the suspect “used heavy weapons to massacre a commissioner and seven other city officials in Sinaloa, Mexico,” and that the Mexican government sought help in locating him after he fled to this country.

That region of Mexico is considered to be home to the nation’s most powerful drug cartel, and mass killings, beheadings and shootouts with authorities are considered commonplace. One alleged Sinaloa cartel boss arrested in August in Mexico is suspected in more than 350 killings.

Between 2007 and 2010, Mexico experienced more than 22,000 drug-related murders, according to one FBI report, and the Mexican newspaper Reforma tallied 9,744 murders in 2012 that it attributed to organized crime.

Numerous reports have concluded that the violence has spilled over into the United States as feuding drug lords stake out their territory.

“Many Los Angeles-based Sinaloa cartel members use local gang members to assist in or commit kidnappings, acquire or sell drugs, and collect drug proceeds,” one Department of Homeland Security report stated.