Jamaican Extradited To US After Two Decades On The Run

(CMC) — A Jamaican man who fled the United States more than 20 years ago after being convicted of killing three women in a car accident, has been extradited to the US to finally serve his time.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said convicted fugitive Christopher Harvey, who first fled to Cuba before being nabbed in the country of his birth, “will now see the justice he so long sought to avoid”.

“The families of these three women killed by Christopher Harvey were re-victimised when he fled the country in 2000. Harvey admitted his guilt in Criminal Court but ran away from his personal responsibility for these crimes, just as he ran away on the night of this dreadful incident 22 years ago,” she said.

Harvey was originally arrested on January 31, 1999 and charged with three counts of vehicular homicide and one count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, the result of an automobile crash that occurred when he ran a red light, travelling at 75 miles per hour, at the intersection of Northwest 199th Street and Northwest 37th Avenue in Miami-Dade County in the early hours of January 30.

The collision killed 24-year-old mother of two, Daylin Bueno; 37-year-old Becky Ballestas Marquez, also a mother of two children; and 24-year-old Maria Arandaans, a college student in town to visit her grandmother. The women were returning home from a gathering when the accident occurred.

After the accident, Harvey fled the scene.

On March 27, 2000, he entered a plea of no contest to all charges, and the court found him guilty and sentenced him to 12-and-a-half years in prison.

At his lawyer’s request, the court gave Harvey until June 1, 2000 to get his affairs in order, at which point he was to turn himself in to begin serving his sentence. Instead, Harvey fled the country.

In 2007, a tip was received that Harvey was possibly in custody in Cuba. However, a lack of formal relations between Cuba and the US made extradition nearly impossible. In 2019, information was acquired that Harvey was in Jamaica. After a request to Jamaica for his extradition was submitted, he was taken into custody by the Jamaican authorities and has now been returned to Miami.

“Thanks to the resolute efforts and commitment of my prosecutors and staff in the Extradition Section of my Legal Unit and the commitment of the US Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team, and Homeland Security Investigations, Christopher Harvey will now see the justice he so long sought to avoid. Today is certainly a day these victimized families have long waited to see,” Rundle said.

Director of the US Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs (OIA), Vaughn Ary, thanked Jamaica for its critical assistance on the case.

“OIA is dedicated to the mission of ensuring that fugitives who flee overseas are apprehended and are returned to face justice. Working with our foreign law enforcement counterparts, the Miami State Attorney’s Office, and US law enforcement agencies, OIA was able to help facilitate the return of Christopher Harvey after 20 years – showing again that, regardless of the passage of time, OIA will not rest in its efforts to advance public safety both for our citizens and for citizens in countries around the world,” he said.