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Mexico deports US ‘affluenza’ teen Ethan Couch

January 28, 2016

MEXICO CITY – Mexican authorities on Thursday deported a U.S. teenager known for using an “affluenza” defense in a fatal Texas drunk-driving accident, a month after the fugitive was caught at a resort.

The National Migration Institute released a video showing agents escorting a bearded Ethan Couch, 18, into a plane flying from Mexico City to Dallas, Texas, after he dropped an appeal against his deportation.

Couch, who had spent 28 days in a detention facility, will be met by U.S. authorities in Dallas “because he faces several charges,” the institute said in a statement.

Couch and his mother, Tonya, were detained by Mexican authorities in the Pacific resort of Puerto Vallarta on Dec. 28 following an international manhunt. The young man had disappeared late last year after missing a mandatory meeting with his probation officer. Couch apparently vanished after the emergence of a video showing him at a party taking part in a drinking game, which violated the terms of his probation.

Tonya Couch was deported from Mexico on Dec. 31 and was promptly arrested by U.S. authorities to face charges of hindering his apprehension.

Her son had lodged an appeal that could have delayed his deportation for months, but he dropped it on Jan. 15.

In 2013, the teen crashed his pickup into a group of pedestrians in Texas and another vehicle, leaving four dead and several seriously injured. Couch, who was 16 at the time, had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit for an adult.

The son of millionaire parents made headlines during his trial when a psychologist testifying on his behalf claimed he suffered from “affluenza.” The term, coined from affluence and influenza, implied that financial privilege made him unable to understand the consequences of his actions.

Couch pleaded guilty to intoxication and manslaughter. Prosecutors had sought a 20-year prison term, but the court handed him a surprise sentence of mental health treatment and a decade of probation.

Affluenza teen Ethan Couch
A handout photo released by the Jalisco State Public Prosecutor's Office of U.S. "affluenza teen" Ethan Couch at the Public Prosecutor's Office in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Sate, Mexico on Dec. 28, 2015. AFP/Jalisco Prosecutor’s Office

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