Tempe decade-old date-rape fugitive caught in Georgia
A Tempe man who fled the state more than 10 years ago after being convicted of sexually assaulting multiple women was captured in Georgia, authorities said.
Detectives from the Tempe Police Department tracked down Mazen Diamond, 37, in Atlanta, and U.S. Marshals from the local office took him into custody Monday, Tempe police spokesman Sgt. Mike Pooley said. Diamond’s cousin and accomplice, Antonio Julio Sanchez, 40, was arrested in Miami, Fla., on April 24.
The two were accused in March 2001 of drugging women they met at bars, taking them back to their apartment and sexually assaulting them while they videotaped it, Pooley said.
“It was just brutal,” he said. “Just taking turns sexually assaulting these girls that were completely unconscious, and (they were) doing everything to them.”
Maricopa County Superior Court records show that in August 2002 Sanchez pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexual assault and Diamond pleaded guilty to sexual assault, but neither showed up for their sentencing the next month. They had not been seen since.
Sanchez and Diamond had changed their identities and were living under different aliases when they were captured, Pooley said. Both men also had children with live-in girlfriends who apparently did not know about their past, authorities said.
Detectives on Tempe’s fugitive-apprehension squad, which has a U.S. Marshal assigned to it, began searching for the two men in 2011 after coming across the case during a review of cold cases, Pooley said. They identified aliases Sanchez was using through connections with family and friends, and tracked him first to Salt Lake City, Utah, then to Houston, Texas, where he has another child, and finally to Miami.
Sanchez and Diamond had kept in touch, and after capturing Sanchez, detectives were able to locate Diamond in Atlanta, he said.
“You can never completely erase your past or your history,” Pooley said. “No matter how hard you try, there’s always going to be some connection that’s going to lead us to you.”
Diamond will be extradited back to Arizona, but Sanchez is facing federal passport fraud charges and will be tried in Miami before he will be extradited, Pooley said. Once they return to Arizona, they will be sentenced for the sexual assault charges.
Sanchez and Diamond used ketamine to drug a woman on March 18, 2001, sexually assaulted her and videotaped the assault, police said. They also were convicted of drugging, assaulting and videotaping another woman on March 23, 2001.
Diamond was an Arizona State University student at the time of his arrest, and Sanchez was a former ice-cream shop owner. The men were roommates.
The pair were suspected of scouting out nightclubs and fitness centers looking for women to invite to an after-hours bar, authorities said. Sanchez and Diamond then would invite the women to their apartment and offer them a drugged drink, authorities said.
One woman regained consciousness during the assault and began screaming, alerting a neighbor at the apartment complex, who called police, Pooley said.
Their apartment was believed to have been rigged with cameras in the living room and master bedroom, police said. According to the warrant for their arrest, seven video tapes labeled “La Femme” were found in the apartment, and one of the tapes documented one of the March 2001 rapes.
The apprehension of Diamond and Sanchez will help bring closure for the two identified victims in the case, as well as the multiple other women investigators saw on the pair’s videotapes but were unable to identify, he said.
The Police Department’s fugitive apprehension squad and partnership with the U.S. Marshal’s Office has enabled Tempe detectives, who have been deputized, to capture violent criminals who flee the state to avoid prosecution, Pooley said.
“Anybody that commits a crime in Tempe, they’re not off limits anymore,” he said. “If you leave the state, we have these guys that are able to go out, work with other agencies, track you down and bring you back.”
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