California man arrested in connection with serial murders of Mexican sex workers

SAN DIEGO — A California man is suspected in a series of murders of sex workers in Mexico, the Baja California attorney general announced Friday.

Federal authorities arrested Bryant Rivera, 30, Thursday in Downey, a town in Los Angeles County, at the request of Mexican authorities, according to court documents and US officials.

He was taken into federal custody pending a remand hearing Monday in Los Angeles, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Federal officials have said they expect Mexican prosecutors to formally request the extradition.

A U.S. attorney’s complaint underpins a warrant for Rivera’s arrest and exposes Baja California’s case against him in the death last year of a Tijuana sex worker. He states that he has been charged with femicide, the killing of women because they are women.

Bryant Rivera.  (via Facebook)

Bryant Rivera. (via Facebook)

On Friday, Baja California Attorney General Ricardo Iván Carpio Sánchez said Rivera was charged with the deaths of three women in Tijuana, just across the border from San Diego.

Rivera “is considered a serial killer” and “will now face justice in Baja California,” Carpio posted on Facebook, according to a translation by NBC News.

It was unclear if Rivera had legal representation. The Los Angeles Federal Public Defender’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The federal complaint details the January 24, 2022 murder of Ángela Carolina Acosta Flores, a Tijuana club dancer and sex worker, who was last seen on security video entering a hotel room , according to prosecutors, rented by Rivera.

Her lifeless body was found in a bathroom the following day and an autopsy concluded that she had been asphyxiated, according to the complaint.

Baja California prosecutors said Rivera was seen leaving the room before midnight that night and never returned. He crossed the US-Mexico border on foot 13 minutes after leaving the room, they claim in the complaint.

A witness used Rivera’s first and last name to tell detectives she last saw Acosta at the club, which is next door to the hotel, according to the filing. The anonymous witness said she knew Rivera like a regular, the complaint states.

Another witness gave a detailed description of the defendant’s face and clothing, noting that his pandemic mask did not fit him and thus betrayed “a face marked by acne”, the document said.

Last year, the Baja California attorney general’s office said the suspect in all three cases had sex with his victims before killing them. He frequented Tijuana’s red-light district, known as Zona Norte, he added.

It’s unclear what led authorities to Rivera, but the complaint contains details of a truck he was associated with as well as an image of his border crossing early on January 25, 2022.

Details of the other two cases were not available. Authorities in Baja California said the deaths spanned from September 2021 to February 2022. It was unclear if Acosta was the latest victim: She was identified by her mother in early February 2022, according to the case file. federal court.

The Baja California attorney general’s office said last year that the three bodies were found in hotel rooms.

In a video posted to the attorney general’s Facebook page, Carpio attributes Thursday’s arrest to “scientific research” and “a strong alliance and collaboration to fight cross-border crime.”

“In Baja California,” he said, “no one escapes justice.”

Gender-based violence and femicide in Mexico have sparked protests and calls for government action.

The Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System reported more than 1,900 murders of women in Mexico from January to November 2022, 858 of which were femicides, according to the US State Department’s Human Rights Report.

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