The City of Hollister on Monday gave special recognition to the two FBI agents who were instrumental in the arrest of homicide suspect Jose Barajas.
The city presented agents Rami Nimri and Michael Dreher with plaques for their work. They headed up the case against Barajas, the suspect accused of killing 18-year-old Ariana Zendejas in 2014. Authorities in July detained him in Mexico, and local prosecutors charged him alleging murder, two counts of kidnapping, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, and three counts of assault with a firearm, according to court records.
Hollister police Detective Bo Leland spoke at the meeting and noted how the arrest started with an anonymous tip, aided by the city’s $25,000 reward program in the case, and how he and Nimi spoke regularly. Leland said Nimri was so relentless that he was “almost pulled from the case.” Dreher was the special agent on the ground in Mexico.
He recalled how authorities captured Barajas while he had been moving from one hideout location to another, and it occurred after a short struggle.
“This was truly a team effort,” Leland said at Monday’s city council meeting.
Leland noted how police employees chipped in to pay for the FBI agents’ plaques.
He thanked Leland and noted how the local detective gathered and forwarded “vital intelligence” to the FBI. The FBI agent said Chief David Westrick also “never forgot about the victim or the victim’s family” and put full resources into the case.
He also thanked the city council for the reward money and the Mexican government.
“I want to send a message to those who live a life of crime and violence,” he said. “If you commit a crime, we will come after you and capture you. You will continue to look over your shoulders wondering if we are behind you. You cannot hide simply by crossing a border. We will not stop looking for you no matter how long it takes.”