El Paso Police's Department of Homeland Security Unit arrested the man who allegedly vandalized two billboards last week.
According to EPPD officials, 25-year-old Ryan Edward Jean from Las Vegas (NV), was tracked down via fingerprints left at the scene of the vandalism. When law enforcement ran the fingerprints through the FBI's database, they matched Jean.
Officials say that Jean [in photo below] had flown to El Paso, and had scheduled a flight back to Las Vegas. They said that the intent of Jean's messages on the billboards was unknown, so EPPD's SWAT Unit, Airport Police and detectives went to the airport and were able to arrest him Sunday afternoon before he left El Paso.
Detectives then interviewed Jean and found out that there was no connection to Mexican drug cartels or any movie and TV productions. They added that Jean "vandalized the billboards in an effort to make a political statement."
According to police documents obtained Tuesday afternoon, Jean admitted to the crime.
According to complaint affidavits filed by El Paso Police, Jean told investigators he jumped the chain-link fence of E.F. Building Materials INC. on the 9400 block of Gateway East, near Americas in East El Paso, after the business closed on Wednesday. The affidavit said Jean then climbed 10 to 15 feet to access the ladder of the billboard and proceeded to paint the message "plata o plomo" -- which roughly translates into "money or bullets" -- and hang a mannequin from a noose.
The documents said Jean cut a hole in a chain-link fence at L Tune Automotive to get to the second billboard located in Central El Paso at 5220 Gateway East, near Raynolds.
Investigators said Jean's left middle finger print was found on a plastic bag used to line the head of the Eastside mannequin.
NewsChannel 9 has learned Jean has a lengthy criminal history in Las Vegas dating back to 2007, including several traffic offenses, a DUI conviction, and a graffiti conviction from 2010.
Jean was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility on two counts of Graffiti, two counts of Criminal Trespass and one count of Criminal Mischief. He is being held on a total bond of $21,800.
Source channel 9 News in El Paso/ Juarez