2 Arrested in Slaying of Oceanside Restaurant Manager


Police have arrested two men in connection with the stabbing death of an El Torito restaurant manager on Vista Way in Oceanside.

One man surrendered to police at the Mexican border Thursday morning after he was contacted by phone in Mexico by investigators, according to Oceanside Police Department spokesman Bob George.

The second suspect, who allegedly drove the getaway car, lives in Oceanside and was arrested at the police station Thursday night, George said. Police are still looking for the third suspect, who they believe is in Mexico.

Juan Mauricio Salinas Ramirez, 31, was tracked down by detectives in a small town outside Mexico City and was sent an airline ticket after he agreed to meet them at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, George said. He surrendered at 11:18 a.m. Thursday.

George said he did not know how authorities persuaded Salinas to return, but investigators did let the suspect know that a case could be filed and prosecuted against him in Mexico. "I have a feeling he would have taken U.S. over Mexico," George said.

Salinas is suspected of being one of two masked and gloved assailants who killed 36-year-old David Taber, assistant manager of an El Torito restaurant, during a robbery in June. The pair repeatedly stabbed Taber in his office after tying him up on the floor. Two janitors also were bound and slashed with knives.

George, who has worked as a homicide detective for eight years, said Taber's death "was the most brutal murder I've ever seen during my 20 years as a cop."

Salinas was booked into County Jail in Vista on suspicion of murder, kidnaping, torture and robbery. His bail is $10 million.

Francisco Arguelles Pantoja, 19, of the 500 block of Garfield Street in Oceanside, allegedly was the driver of the getaway car. Arguelles was booked into County Jail in Vista on suspicion of murder and robbery. No bail has been set, a jail spokesman said.

Both men admitted their parts in the crime, said prosecutor Greg Walden, who questioned them after their arrests. He would not give further details. Both men will be arraigned Monday.

A third man sought in the case, Jose Duran Ramirez, in his early 20s, is believed to be in Mexico, Walden said.

Arrest warrants for Salinas and Duran were issued in late July.

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