Drug Suspect on the Lam: Escaped House Arrest By Putting GPS Unit on Cat

Diego Martinez-Espinoza is described as 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighing 185 pounds, with short dark hair.
Diego Martinez-Espinoza is described as 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighing 185 pounds, with short dark hair.

*This is not funny, so why am I laughing so hard.

Diego Martinez-Espinoza is a Mexican national who was in the U. S. illegally. He was under house arrest for suspicion of drug dealing and somehow came up with the idea to slip out of the court-ordered GPS he had been wearing for weeks, and put it on his cat.

Now U.S. marshals are having a fit trying to catch up him.

Diego Martinez-Espinoza is believed to be 24 or 25 and by now authorities think he may have fled Virginia and perhaps the U.S. altogether.

He apparently disappeared around March 1. His house arrest was in Highland Springs, Virginia, in Henrico County; where he was awaiting trial on charges of having more than 40 pounds of cocaine with intent to distribute in his possession, according to a complaint the Drug Enforcement Administration filed this month in U.S. District Court in Richmond.

Martinez-Espinoza was shackled to a GPS monitor, which duly kept pinging his presence at home — or so Henrico County authorities thought.

But the complaint states that on March 2 the tracker ran out of power, and Martinez-Espinoza was nowhere to be found when the landlord went to check on him.

But his cat was there. And it was wearing the GPS unit.

The complaint states the cat could have been chirping at it for as long as three days.

The suspect had apparently got the idea to do this over several weeks because his device had pinged (meaning it was being tampered with) on several occasions in February. But each time authorities check on him,  Martinez-Espinoza was where he was supposed to be and the tracker was in place, according to the complaint.

This led to “a belief on the part of the person assigned to monitor Martinez-Espinoza that the GPS unit was malfunctioning.” The court even supplied the suspect with a replacement; so when the replacement unit ran out of power on March 1, his monitors didn’t immediately go to his home.

According to court docs by the investigators, Martinez-Espinoza has a girlfriend in North Carolina and other friends, but that has yet to help them locate him for the last month and a half.

Now, a new warrant for his arrest is in place. And with it the additional charge of violating the terms of his pretrial release.


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