Lawyer: 'Affluenza' teen's deportation to US imminent

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'Affluenza' Teen Ethan Couch Drops Appeal, Will Return to US

The wealthy Texas youth known as the "affluenza" teen after he killed four people in a drunk driving incident in 2013 should be deported to the United States very soon after dropping a legal challenge in Mexico, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Ethan Couch, 18, and his mother, Tonya, were arrested in Mexico last month following a more than two-week-long manhunt. His mother was deported to the United States last month.

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'Affluenza' teen given probation Ethan Couch
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Lawyer: 'Affluenza' teen's deportation to US imminent
This Dec. 28, 2015 photo released by Mexico's Jalisco state prosecutorís office shows who authorities identify as Ethan Couch, after he was taken into custody in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. U.S. authorities said the Texas teenager serving probation for killing four people in a drunken-driving wreck after invoking an "affluenza" defense, was in custody in Mexico, weeks after he and his mother disappeared. (Mexico's Jalisco state prosecutorís office via AP)
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, shows Ethan Couch. The U.S. Marshals Service have joined the search for Couch, a teenager who was serving probation for killing four people in a 2013 drunken-driving wreck after invoking the "affluenza" defense, an argument that his wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. (U.S. Marshals Service via AP)
This frame grab taken from a Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 video provided by Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Migracion, INM, shows Ethan Couch, escorted onto a plane by Mexican immigration agents, in Mexico City. INM says it has taken the Texas teenager who used an "affluenza" defense in a fatal drunken-driving accident to the Mexico City airport, to fly him back to Texas to face charges. Couch was placed on a commercial flight to Dallas, Texas. (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM via AP)
This frame grab taken from a Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 video provided by Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Migracion, INM, shows Ethan Couch, as he is escorted by Mexican immigration agents, upon their arrival to the international airport in Mexico City. INM says it has taken the Texas teenager who used an "affluenza" defense in a fatal drunken-driving accident to the Mexico City airport, to fly him back to Texas to face charges. The institute said Thursday that Couch would be placed on a commercial flight to Dallas, Texas. (Instituto Nacional de Migración, INM via AP)
This undated wanted poster photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, shows Ethan Couch. The U.S. Marshals Service have joined the search for Couch, a teenager who was serving probation for killing four people in a 2013 drunken-driving wreck after invoking a defense that he suffered from "affluenza." (U.S. Marshals Service via AP)
Lucas McConnell, 13, right wipes tears from his eyes after speaking to reporters with his attorney Todd Clement, left, by his side Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Burleson, Texas. The family of Lucas McConnell, injured by a drunken teen driver whose attorneys later claimed he suffered from "affluenza," plans to continue its lawsuit against the driver. While most families who sued Ethan Couch over a wreck that left four dead have settled, the McConnell's will continue fighting Couch in court. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Attorney Todd Clement, second from left, speaks during new conference with his client Lucas McConnell, 13, center right, Alesia McConnell, left, and Kevin McConnell look on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Burleson, Texas. The family of Lucas McConnell, injured by a drunken teen driver whose attorneys later claimed he suffered from "affluenza," plans to continue its lawsuit against the driver. While most families who sued Ethan Couch over a wreck that left four dead have settled, the McConnell's will continue fighting Couch in court. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
FILE - In this December 2013 image taken from a video by KDFW-FOX 4, Ethan Couch is seen during his court hearing in Fort Worth, Texas. The family of Couch, who killed four people in a drunken wreck, have reached a settlement of more than $2 million with the family of a teenage boy left disabled. Tarrant County court documents filed Friday show that the liability insurer of Ethan Couchâs parents agreed to pay $1.64 million in cash to a trust established for Sergio E. Molina. (AP Photo/KDFW-FOX 4, File)
Ethan Couch, center, sits in juvenile court for a hearing about his future Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Couch, who was sentenced to 10 years' probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people, and ordered him to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. The sentence stirred fierce debate, as has the testimony of a defense expert who says Couch's wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. The expert termed the condition "affluenza." (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Ethan Couch, center, sits in juvenile court for a hearing about his future Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Couch, who was sentenced to 10 years' probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people, and ordered him to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. The sentence stirred fierce debate, as has the testimony of a defense expert who says Couch's wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. The expert termed the condition "affluenza." (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Tonya Couch, left, and Fred Couch, parents of teenager Ethan Couch, arrive at juvenile court for a hearing about their son's future Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Ethan Couch, who was sentenced to 10 years' probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people, and ordered him to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. The sentence stirred fierce debate, as has the testimony of a defense expert who says Couch's wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. The expert termed the condition "affluenza." (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Tonya Couch, left, and Fred Couch, parents of teenager Ethan Couch, arrive at juvenile court for a hearing about their son's future Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Ethan Couch, who was sentenced to 10 years' probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people, and ordered him to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. The sentence stirred fierce debate, as has the testimony of a defense expert who says Couch's wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. The expert termed the condition "affluenza." (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Fred Couch, father of teenager Ethan Couch, collects his belt after clearing security as he arrives at juvenile court for a hearing about his son's future Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. A judge on Wednesday ordered Ethan Couch, who was sentenced to 10 years' probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people, to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Ethan Couch, defense attorney Reagan Wynn and prosecutors told reporters after the hearing, which was closed to the public. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Couch's return is "imminent" now that he has dropped the appeal, said Fernando Benitez, his lawyer in Mexico.

"Basically, it was just Mr Couch's decision, he wants to go back to his home state and face whatever legal consequences result from whatever actions took place over the past few months," he said in the border city of Tijuana.

"It could be a matter of one day, two days, three days," he added, saying Mexican authorities still had to make the necessary transport arrangements.

Mexico has not yet announced a date for his deportation.

Couch was sentenced to 10 years of drug-and-alcohol-free probation for intoxication manslaughter, a punishment condemned by critics as privilege rewarded with leniency. He now faces the prospect of U.S. charges for violating his probation.

During the trial, a psychologist sparked outrage by saying in his defense that Couch was so wealthy and spoiled he could not tell the difference between right and wrong - hence, he was suffering from "affluenza."

Tarrant County, Texas, prosecutors say Couch is responsible for his own absence by fleeing to Mexico.

His mother was returned to Texas and faces a third-degree felony charge for helping her son to flee. If convicted, she could receive a 10-year prison sentence.

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said he had not yet been notified when Couch would return. U.S. marshals are in Mexico waiting to bring him back, he added. Upon arrival, Couch will be placed in juvenile detention, Anderson said.

If Couch is found to have violated his probation, he could be held in adult detention for about four months.

He faces a detention hearing in Fort Worth on Feb. 19 to determine if his case will be transferred to the adult system. Tarrant County prosecutors are looking into whether he could face additional charges.

Couch has been being held in a migrants' detention center in Mexico City, and though he would have liked a more comfortable place, he "never complained", his lawyer said.

"The last time I saw him, he felt very optimistic about returning back home," Benitez said.

(With reporting by Anahi Rama and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City, Marice Richter and Jon Herskovitz in Texas; Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Clarence Fernandez)

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