FBI Seal

U.S. Department of Justice

Federal Bureau of Investigation


Immediate Release

San Juan, Puerto Rico

September 24, 2005

 

EXECUTION OF FEDERAL ARREST WARRANT


Luis S. Fraticelli, Special Agent in Charge, San Juan Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is providing the following information regarding the attempted capture of Filiberto Ojeda-Rios (Ojeda-Rios):

On August 30, 1985, a federal grand jury indicted Ojeda-Rios, the proclaimed leader of the "Ejercito Popular Boricua-Macheteros." Ojeda-Rios and several other members of "Los Macheteros" were indicted for robbery and transportation of stolen money stemming from the September 12, 1983 robbery of approximately $7 million from Wells Fargo Armored Services Corporation, in West Hartford, Connecticut.

While free on bond awaiting trial on these original charges, Ojeda-Rios fled and became a fugitive from justice. In his absence, Ojeda-Rios was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in prison.

On September 25, 1990, an arrest warrant was issued by the United States District Court of Connecticut charging Ojeda-Rios with having violated Title 18, United States Code (USC), Section 3148 (Bond Default).

On September 20, 2005, the FBI developed information regarding the whereabouts of Ojeda-Rios. On that same day, the FBI began conducting surveillance and a tactical operation in the Hormigueros area of Puerto Rico in an effort to confirm the exact whereabouts of Ojeda-Rios. Subsequently, it was determined that Ojeda-Rios was present at a Hormigueros residence/farm house.

On September 23, 2005, FBI agents were conducting surveillance of the Hormigueros farm house when it was determined that their presence had been detected. Because the operation potentially had been compromised, the FBI agents decided to go ahead and execute the warrant for the arrest of Ojeda-Rios. As the FBI agents approached the front of the farm house at approximately 4:28 p.m., Ojeda-Rios opened the front door to the residence and opened fire on the FBI agents. As a result, one FBI agent was shot and severely wounded. Two other FBI agents were shot, although they were not wounded because of their protective equipment.

In response to the gunfire from Ojeda-Rios, the FBI returned fire and established a defensive perimeter in order to contain the environment.

At three separate points in time, gunfire was fired at the FBI agents from the direction of the residence. Because of the ongoing gunfire, FBI decided not to enter the residence. The FBI also was aware that Ojeda-Rios and Los Macheteros both have a history of possessing explosives. For safety reasons, the FBI then requested additional agents, police dogs, and specialized equipment, as well as an FBI tactical team based in the United States.

At one point in the encounter, Ojeda-Rios' wife, Elma Beatriz Rosado Barbosa, safely exited the residence. She was not injured by gunfire at any point in time. Although she was initially detained, she has been released from federal custody.

On September 24, 2005, an FBI tactical team from the United States entered the residence and discovered that Ojeda-Rios was deceased. So far, one weapon has been discovered inside of the residence. The investigation is on-going.




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