How unserved warrants arrest accountability

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - If you do the crime, you do the time. That's what you expect from the criminal justice system. 

But Contact 13 reveals tens of thousands of wanted suspects may never have to pay for their crimes. 

There are nearly 700,000 active arrest warrants in Nevada each representing a suspected crime committed in our state.  

And there are much more potentially dangerous suspects who've left other states hoping to avoid the consequences of their sins by moving to Sin City.

"I know what he's done, and I know what he's capable of," says Vanessa Vasquez who lives in fear of ex-boyfriend Greg Jimenez.  He followed her from Florida to Las Vegas, skipping out on a 2009 DUI charge and leaving behind an active warrant for his arrest.

Vanessa explains how she tried to warn her ex. "Eventually they're going to get you. He was like 'No. Well, that's why I came to Vegas. If I'm in Vegas, Florida's not going to do anything.'"

It costs a lot of taxpayer money to extradite - or bring someone back to face charges - so law enforcement rarely goes after those suspected of minor crimes. In many cases, crossing the state line or even moving to the next county can mean avoiding the long arm of the law.  

According to data Contact 13 obtained from Nevada DPS, there are currently 681,293 active warrants in effect in Nevada. (A warrant is often issued for each charge a subject is facing.) 56,264 are for felony and gross misdemeanor charges. 

Of those felony and gross misdemeanor warrants, nearly all of them have statewide extradition. That means if a subject with a warrant in Clark County is stopped by police in Reno, he will be held and brought back to the appropriate Las Vegas area court.

But 624 are county-only - where the crime occurred. Those include crimes of sex assault, leaving the scene of an accident, violating protection orders, burglary, and home invasion.  

Included in the Nevada total, Clark County District Court has 16,554 active warrants. Las Vegas Justice Court reports 271,125 open warrants; 35,180 for felony and gross misdemeanors. 

According to law enforcement and court authorities, it's most often a prosecuting agency which determines the parameters of extradition. 

"For the worst of the worst, they'll go after those people and serve those warrants," says Contact 13 Crime and Safety expert and former Metro Lt. Randy Sutton. He is concerned about the tens of thousands they can't go after. 

"Law enforcement has to operate within the confines of the system," Sutton explains.  "And this is a flawed system." 

We showed him the long list of outstanding warrants here in Nevada.

"So there are individuals that are on this list that really need to be to jail," says Sutton. 

But police often don't have the money or manpower to track them down.

Then there are the countless others, like Greg Jimenez--living in Las Vegas while wanted for serious crimes in other states.

Florida authorities confirm, in addition to the current DUI warrant, Jimenez is also a convicted felon.  He did prison time in 1999 for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, which means he's not allowed to possess a gun. 

But Vanessa saved some 2013 photos of Jimenez. Vanessa says, "The pictures of him possessing the gun, the firearm in his hand."

She reported it all to police in both Las Vegas and Leon County, Florida and even told authorities where to find him. 
 
"It's like a brick wall. It's a dead end," says Vanessa.  

Metro can't do a thing because Florida won't pay to bring Jimenez back. 

"This happens all the time," says Sutton. 

Florida authorities confirm Jimenez is only wanted if he's picked up in their state, which poses a danger in ours.

"If people don't think that there are going to be consequences for their actions, they are more likely to commit crimes," says Sutton. 

A broken system Vanessa says must be fixed.

"Why go and sentence people and charge them and put all these restrictions on them if you're not going to enforce it?"

Greg Jimenez declined to be interviewed.  When we asked him about having a gun, he denied it, said he isn't that stupid, and hung up the phone.  

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