NEW: Source: Ethan Couch has been transferred to an immigration holding facility in Mexico City
Mexican authorities say Tonya Couch is en route to Los Angeles
Officials say legal proceedings for Ethan Couch in Mexico could take weeks or months
While her son’s attorneys filed paperwork to block Mexican authorities from deporting him, the mother of “affluenza teen” Ethan Couch left Mexico Wednesday and was on the way to Los Angeles, Mexican government sources said.
Texas prosecutors have said Tonya Couch will be charged with hindering the apprehension of a juvenile, and if convicted, faces between two and 10 years in jail.
A Mexican immigration official with knowledge of the case said Ethan Couch’s attorneys had filed a writ to seek protection and block his deportation. If the teen confirms his wish to go forward with that approach, the case would go to trial, and proceedings could take months, the official said.
“At this time we do not have a time frame. We do not know if the Mexicans have the highest priority on this case like we do here in America,” Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Richard Hunter told reporters Wednesday. “It’s on their time schedule. We’ve seen these things happen as quickly as two weeks to two months.”
The law caught up with Ethan Couch, 18, and his mother in Mexico on Monday after the pair went missing earlier this month.
He was on probation for killing four people in a drunk driving accident in 2013, when he was 16. At the time, many were outraged that a judge sentenced him to probation instead of jail time, slamming his now-notorious “affluenza” defense.
Even if a Mexican immigration court does decide to send Couch back to the United States, he might not face much time behind bars.
Violating his probation by fleeing to Mexico may earn Couch a maximum of 120 days in jail, said Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson.
Anderson told CNN Wednesday that the punishment, which he considers lenient, is infuriating.
“He doesn’t believe the rules apply to him, he doesn’t believe the laws apply to him,” the sheriff said.