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US ‘affluenza’ teen arrested in Mexico

affluenza-1Authorities in Mexico have detained a wealthy Texas teenager sought in the United States after he disappeared while serving probation for killing four people in a high-profile drunk-driving case.

Ethan Couch, 18, and his mother Tonya were arrested in the Pacific resort city of Puerto Vallarta on Monday night, said the Jalisco state prosecutor’s office.

They were both handed over to the National Migration Institute after they “could not prove their legal status in Mexico” and authorities will send them back to the United States, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

A photo released by state prosecutors show Couch with his hands behind his back and shirt open, with his hair apparently dyed black and sporting facial hair.

The teen crashed his pickup into a group of pedestrians and another vehicle in 2013, leaving four dead and several seriously injured. He had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit.

Couch, 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 manslaughter. Prosecutors had sought a 20-year prison term, but judges handed him a surprise sentence of mental-health treatment and a decade of probation.

The leniency shocked many Americans, especially because the teen expressed no remorse and did not spend a single night behind bars.

The hunt for Couch began a few weeks ago after he missed a mandatory meeting with his probation officer.

He seemed to have disappeared after the emergence of a video showing Couch at a party taking part in a drinking game, which violated the terms of his probation.

The FBI and US Marshals Service joined the search after authorities put Couch on the country’s most wanted list.

The teenager’s flight with his mother prompted outrage across the country.

The Jalisco state prosecutor’s office said it had been working on the case with the US Marshals Service since Saturday.



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