Darren Mack now in jail in Texas
Associated Press Writer
A Reno businessman is in custody in Dallas today after he surrendered to U.S.
Federal Agents and Mexican officials Thursday night in Puerto Vallarta.
Darren Mack is charged in the June 12 killing of his estranged wife and is suspected in the sniper shooting of a Reno family court judge.
Reno Police Chief Michael Poehlman said in a press conference this morning that Mack may have felt “things were tightening around him,” and decided to surrender peacefully at a resort in Puerto Vallarta. He said Mack stayed the night at the resort with FBI agents and took an American Airlines Flight this morning into Dallas, arriving at 10 a.m.
Mack, 45, is charged in the murder of his estranged wife, Charla Mack, at the home the couple once shared in south Reno. He was arrested in Dallas by Fort Worth airport officers and is being held without bail in the Dallas jail on a first-degree murder warrant.
District Attorney Dick Gammick said that once Mack returns to Reno, he will also be
charged with the sniper shooting of Family Court Judge Chuck Weller. Weller was the judge in the Macks’ divorce. He suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and is recovering with family in an undisclosed location.
Chief Poehlman said Reno investigators are on their way to Dallas on a plane
owned by the state of Nevada. It’s possible Mack could return to
Nevada later today. It’s unclear if Mack is going to fight extradition from Texas.
Mack’s Reno attorney, Scott Freeman, issued a brief statement earlier today,
saying he and co-counsel David Chesnoff of Las Vegas are eager to begin a
Gammick said there was no deal to reduce charges made in the negotiations for Mack’s surrender.
“Mr. Mack had options available to him to fight extradition through a
lawful court process in Mexico which would have been a benefit to him,”
Freeman told The Associated Press. “Instead he chose to voluntarily
“He did so to be with his family, his children and to defend himself.”
On Thursday, authorities said Mack was believed to be on Mexico’s west
coast and had been spotted previously in Baja California. He had arranged
to surrender Thursday morning at the U.S. consulate in Puerto Vallarta,
but never showed up.
Reno police said the arrest came after cooperation between the FBI and Mexican authorities.
“The arrest of accused killer Darren Roy Mack proves that criminals cannot
find a safe haven on either side of the border,” Tony Garza, the U.S.
ambassador to Mexico, said in a statement released by the U.S. Embassy in
Mack contacted Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick earlier this
week and “expressed a desire to surrender,” Police Chief Poehlman
said at a news conference Thursday.
Gammick said that Mack sounded “concerned” and that he thought Mack was
being “pretty straight up” when arranging the plan.
In addition to charging Mack with the murder of his estranged wife,
Poehlman said police have probable cause to charge him with attempted
murder in the sniper attack on Weller.
Gammick said he’s talked with Mack, who he has known for 20 years, by
phone about a dozen times over the past four days. They’ve also
communicated by e-mail.
“He did express to me that he called me because I’m the only one he trusts
in the system,” Gammick said.
Gammick said there’s no evidence anyone else was involved in the stabbing
of Charla Mack or the shooting of Weller, but authorities don’t know if he
had help fleeing the country.
Charla Mack’s mother, Soorya Townley, and brother, Christopher Broughton,
planned a Friday afternoon press conference in Reno.
Poehlman said police had a “credible” sighting of Mack at a resort
swimming pool in Cabo San Lucas on June 15. He’s believed to have been in
La Paz on the Baja Peninsula two days later and on Mexico’s west coast
around Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta earlier this week.
“Our belief is he has a large sum of cash with him,” Poehlman said.
Mack was a co-owner of Palace Jewelry & Loan Co. Inc., a pawn shop, until
he turned over control in 2005 to his mother, a lawyer for the business
said. Mack earned more than $500,000 a year and had a net worth of $9.4
million as recently as 2004, according to court documents.
The FBI added Mack to its list of “Most Wanted” fugitives Tuesday, the
same day Charla Mack, 39, was buried. He was considered armed and
dangerous, “with access to all types of weapons,” FBI Director Robert S.
Mueller III said.
A search warrant affidavit said officers found several boxes of ammunition
and an empty gun case with a receipt for a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle
equipped with a laser sighting device at Mack’s town house, where Charla
Mack’s body was found in the garage in a pool of blood in the hours after
Weller was shot.
Weller was hit in the chest from a distance eqaul to three football fields away while standing next to the window in his third-floor office at the Washoe County