'Affluenza' teen's life in Mexico

Posted at 9:07 AM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 09:07:18-05

As Fernando Benitez prepared to meet with his client Ethan Couch for the first time in Mexico City on Tuesday, the lawyer for the "affluenza" teen warned that he was fighting for a lengthy deportation process, ABC News reports.

Ethan, 18, and his mother, Tonya Couch, 48, were arrested in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Dec. 28 after U.S. Marshals and other American law enforcement agencies had searched for them for nearly two weeks. Ethan was wanted in Texas for an alleged probation violation in a drunken-driving case.

He'd previously been granted a three-day stay in his deportation case but Benitez told ABC News that delay was no longer in effect because Ethan had ratified a writ of Amparo, staying the deportation. This weekend, Benitez said he hoped to get Ethan a hearing by early February but also said that the deportation process could take longer.

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Tonya Couch is scheduled to appear in U.S. court Tuesday.

A Mexican immigration official also shared some details today about the holding facility where Ethan is staying. Ethan is sleeping on a cot or a bunk in a room that he shares with three or four other people, according to the official.

The majority of the migrants in the holding facility are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Ethan gets three meals a day and can watch television in a common room, the official said. He has unlimited access to public telephones inside the facility as well as unlimited access to medical care.

The official said that Ethan could visit an outside courtyard where there is a basketball court and a soccer pitch.

In 2013, Ethan was convicted of four counts of intoxication manslaughter while driving drunk, but was not sentenced to any jail time after an expert witness for the defense team pointed to "affluenza," a condition he said was caused by Ethan's wealthy upbringing, preventing him from knowing right from wrong. Instead, the teen was given 10 years of probation.

Tonya Couch is expected to appear in court Tuesday in Los Angeles. She was arrested on Dec. 31 by the Los Angeles Police Department on a felony charge after arriving back in the U.S. from Mexico.

The District Attorney for Texas Tarrant County has formally charged her with hindering apprehension of a felony and set bail at $1 million. Her attorneys have said she did not violate Texas law.

It was unclear when Tonya Couch would be transported from California to Texas.