Tags: CB | Puerto | Rico | FBI | Arrest

FBI Arrests Long-sought Puerto Rican Militant

Tuesday, 10 May 2011 11:04 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A Puerto Rican nationalist who was one of two remaining fugitives sought for one of the largest bank robberies in U.S. history was arrested Tuesday as he took a morning stroll in a central town on the island, the FBI said.

Authorities say Norberto Gonzalez Claudio took part in the $7 million robbery of a bank depot in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1983 as a member of the militant independence group Los Macheteros. Gonzalez calmly admitted his identity Tuesday and then refused to say another word as federal agents and local police arrested him along a jogging track in the town of Cayey, said Luis Fraticelli, special agent in charge of FBI operations in Puerto Rico.

"He seemed surprised" but did not put up any resistance, Fraticelli said.

Gonzalez, 65, was living alone in a modest home under a false name, and authorities believe he still had an active role in the militant group, which has claimed responsibility for a series of robberies, murders and bombings in the name of Puerto Rican independence, Fraticelli said.

An older brother, Avelino, was sentenced last year to seven years in prison after spending more than two decades as a fugitive for his role in the heist. A third brother, Orlando, was also convicted of taking part in the robbery and has since been released.

James Bergenn, a Connecticut lawyer who represented Avelino Gonzalez after he was captured in 2008, said U.S. law enforcement had been closing in on Tuesday's arrest.

"There's heavy interest in this case. They wanted it done," Bergenn said. "It's been dormant, but then they started investigating again when they arrested Avelino."

Most of the violent activities of Los Macheteros took place in the 1970s and 1980s, but the FBI still considers the group a threat as younger members have taken on the leadership.

"As long as they continue to advocate the independence of Puerto Rico by force they will always pose a danger," Fraticelli told The Associated Press. He spoke in the San Juan federal building that was damaged when members of Los Macheteros fired an anti-tank weapon at the sixth floor in October 1983.

Gonzalez is expected to be extradited to Connecticut to faces charges that include bank robbery, transportation of stolen money and conspiracy. A nephew, Juan Gonzalez, said family members and supporters were arranging for a lawyer to represent him.

"The only thing he is guilty of is supporting independence for Puerto Rico," said Juan Gonzalez, a real estate broker.

Prosecutors have said Los Macheteros, whose name is variously translated as "Machete Wielders" or "Cane Cutters," are suspected of using the stolen money to finance bombings and attacks in their push for independence for the U.S. territory.

The 1983 robbery allegedly was carried out by Victor Manuel Gerena, a Wells Fargo driver recruited by the independence group. Authorities say Gerena took two co-workers hostage at gunpoint, handcuffed them and injected them with an unknown substance to temporarily disable them. Members of Los Macheteros allegedly helped spirit the money out of the U.S.

Fraticelli said that Gerena is alive and living in Cuba and that the U.S. still hopes to arrest him. He is one of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives.

The alleged leader of the Macheteros, Filiberto Ojeda Rios, was killed in a 2005 shootout with the FBI at a remote farmhouse in Puerto Rico.

___

Associated Press writer Michael Melia in Hartford, Connecticut, contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Soros, Steyer, Bloomberg Donate Heavily to Super PACs in July

Friday, 22 Aug 2014 19:23 PM

Super PAC spending heated up in July in advance of the fall midterm elections, with Democrats dominating the list of meg . . .

German Evangelist Bonnke Opens First US Crusade

Saturday, 23 Aug 2014 12:38 PM

By the time the Rev. Reinhard Bonnke edges toward the stage, anticipation in the thundering arena is swelling. A crowd o . . .

Eruption Begins Beneath Iceland's Largest Glacier

Saturday, 23 Aug 2014 12:22 PM

Iceland raised its aviation alert to red Saturday as a subglacial eruption began at the restless Bardarbunga volcano, wh . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved