JOHNSON CITY - A man who allegedly fled the country nearly six years ago in an attempt to avoid prosecution was back in East Tennessee Wednesday evening.
Anselmo Lozano Sanchez, 43, had been charged by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 2001 with aggravated sexual battery on a minor. A short time later, the Mexican national allegedly fled to his home country after being released on bond from the Washington County Detention Center.
On Wednesday, Lozano Sanchez was turned over in Mexico to members of the FBI, who searched for some time to find the fugitive.
"It's been a matter of years. It really takes a lot of effort behind the scenes to do this," said Gary Kidder, special agent with the FBI based out of Knoxville. "It's pretty unusual to get a Mexican citizen extradited from Mexico back to the United States. You're dealing with a lot of political situations to get this done."
Lozano Sanchez originally was arrested after an alleged incident during the early hours of June 3, 2001.
At that time, TVA Officer James Vaughn spotted a vehicle parked in a handicapped space at the DeVault Bridge boat ramp on Boone Lake. When he approached the car, Vaughn reportedly saw an 11-year-old girl sitting in the driver's seat, pulling up her pants and underwear. Lozano Sanchez was also in the front seat of the car, authorities said.
According to court documents, Lozano Sanchez had offered to take the girl fishing and then fondled her while still inside the vehicle. He also allegedly made the child touch him.
During police questioning, Lozano Sanchez reportedly called his actions an "ugly game."
In September 2001, a grand jury returned an indictment against Lozano Sanchez charging him with one count of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, as well as two counts of failure to appear, for failing to answer to the sexual battery charge after having been lawfully released from custody.
Federal authorities got involved in the case a short time after the man's disappearing act and obtained an arrest warrant through the federal justice system charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Using a number of "sources and methods," federal agencies including the FBI, U.S. Attorney's Office in Knoxville, U.S. Department of Justice, FBI Legal Attache Office in Mexico City and officials in Mexico were able to arrest and extradite Lozano Sanchez.
Members of the Washington County Sheriff's Office traveled to Knoxville Wednesday to pick up Lozano Sanchez, who was set to arrive at the airport there with federal authorities sometime around 8 p.m.
Upon his arrival back into the area, Lozano Sanchez was to be booked into the Washington County Detention Center to await a court appearance.
The federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution will likely be dismissed and Lozano Sanchez will be facing only the local charges, authorities said.