Suspect in Drifter's Slaying Captured Near Border

A Mexican national who allegedly murdered a fellow transient in the North County two months ago was arrested Thursday after allegedly sneaking into the country with several other illegal immigrants.

Border Patrol agents spotted Saul Hernandez-Echeverria, 37, in a group of foot travelers hiking a few miles north of the international line in the Campo area about 8 a.m., according to Customs and Border Protection officials.

After taking the four into custody and determining that they were in the United States illegally, the federal officers discovered that Hernandez was the subject of a murder warrant out of San Marcos.

Hernandez is suspected of killing 50-year-old Ramon Garcia, who was found dead in a backyard shed at a Ponte Avenue home the morning of Feb. 17.

At the time of the slaying, Hernandez was staying in the metal outbuilding, which is owned by some of his relatives and where Garcia also sometimes stayed the night, according to sheriff's investigators.

The two transients were seen together the night before Garcia's body was found, officials said.

Garcia's cause of death has not been publicly released.