El Paso Police arrest billboard vandalism suspect

No tie to drug cartels, say police

EL PASO, Texas - The El Paso Police Department says its Homeland Security Unit (HLS) has
arrested the man who vandalized two billboards last week.

A news release issued by Sgt Chris Mears says an officer with the
Department's Crime Scene Unit located a latent fingerprint while processing the
crime scene. A check of the local database returned negative results.

The FBI's local forensic team stayed late on Friday to check the print in their database.   Mears says the print was found to belong to 25-year old Ryan Edward Jean of Las Vegas, NV.

Mears says that because Jean's motive was initially unknown, members of
the Department's SWAT team, Airport Police and HLS detectives all went to the airport
where they arrested Jean without incident before he boarded a return flight to Las Vegas.

After interviewing Jean, detectives say they determined he has no connection to Mexican drug cartels or Movie or TV productions. They say Jean vandalized the billboards in an effort to make a political statement.

HLS detectives booked Jean into the El Paso County Detention Facility on two counts of Graffiti, two counts of Criminal Trespass and one count of Criminal Mischief with a total bond of $21,800.00.

In Aug. 2012, two billboards in Las Vegas had mannequins in suits hanging from them with "dying for work" and "hope you're happy Wall Street" on them.

ABC-7 asked Las Vegas Police Tuesday afternoon if they were looking at Jean as a possible suspect in that case given the similarities in the Las Vegas and El Paso cases.

"The LVMPD does have a similar case that remains under investigation.  No persons have been arrested at this time," Las Vegas Police spokesman Officer Larry Hadfield said in an email response.

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