José de la Cruz was a Spanish military commander in Mexico's wars of independence. He was finally defeated by his ex-subordinate, Pedro Celestino Negrete in Durango, just after the Treaty of Córdoba, at the end of August or beginning of September of 1821.
The book "101 villanos en la historia de México" mentions that Agustín Iturbide let de la Cruz return to Spain. That would place the date of the permission before Iturbide's abdication in March of 1823. According to Zelia Nuttall, in "Two Remarkable California Baskets", the general stopped in California first, which I find dubious. According to the Spanish Wikipedia article, in 1823 de la Cruz became Spain's Minister of War.
That leaves a range of up to about 18 months when de la Cruz could have crossed the Atlantic. More specifically, when was his voyage to Spain?