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Man sought in New Mexico deputy's death is captured in Mexico

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The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico- A man sought in the killing of a [New Mexico] sheriff's deputy was taken in custody in Mexico and extradited to U.S. authorities Tuesday.

Michael Paul Astorga, 29, was taken into custody early Monday in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Police in Juarez handed over Astorga to the FBI and Bernalillo County authorities early Tuesday morning, FBI Special Agent Bill Elwell said.

In an interview aired on local television stations in El Paso and Albuquerque, New Mexico, hours after his arrest, Astorga expressed surprise when told that police were after him.

He denied involvement in any killing, contending he had only come to Juarez on vacation, and that he intended to return to New Mexico.

"What? Murders? No," Astorga told the interviewer, saying it was "a strong possibility" authorities had confused him with someone else.

"I didn't do nothing," he said.

Astorga was wanted in the March 22 killing of Deputy James McGrane Jr., 38, who was shot in the head after stopping a pickup truck on in Tijeras, New Mexico, just east of Albuquerque. Astorga was also wanted in the Nov. 5 killing of Candido Martinez, 27, of Albuquerque.

Astorga was placed on the FBI's Top 10 "Most Wanted" list last weekend and was featured Saturday on the television show "America's Most Wanted."

Astorga said police showed up at the motel where he was staying "and woke me up in my sleep and put me in handcuffs and brought me here." Authorities said they found weapons in the room, but he said, "I didn't have no weapons."

But Chihuahua state police said Astorga was taken into custody during a traffic stop Monday morning. Police reportedly found three handguns and a small amount of marijuana during the stop, Chihuahua state police said.

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