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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2004

New York State Fugitive Arrested By HIDTA San Juan Agents


BAYAMON, Puerto Rico - On August 24, 2004, while conducting an OCDETF investigation, Task Force Officers Luis Batiz and Edwin Colon (Puerto Rico Justice Department’s Special Investigations Bureau), and Special Agent Reinaldo Lopez (DEA), witnessed a major traffic accident at State Road #5, in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. TFOs Batiz, Colon and S/A Lopez responded to the accident scene to provide first aid to offer their assistance. The individual responsible for the accident, later identified as New York State Fugitive Angel RODRIGUEZ-Velazquez, attempted to flee the scene. At this point the agents were not aware that RODRIGUEZ was a wanted felon. TFOs Batiz and Colon prevented RODRIGUEZ-Velazquez from fleeing the scene of the accident. Meanwhile, S/A Lopez, a former PRPD Narcotics Agent and a Combat Medic Instructor with the U.S. Army Reserve, provided assistance to the accident victims and asked the Caribbean Division (CD) Communications Center, to summon the Puerto Rico Police Department’s Transit Division.

PRPD’s Transit Officers responded to the traffic accident and assumed jurisdiction over the investigation. Puerto Rico Army National Guard (PRARNG) Specialist Carlos Machuca, from the PRARNG Counter Drug program and who was the Radio Operator on duty at the CD, ran RODIRGUEZ on all available driver’s and criminal databases. Specialist Machuca found out that RODRIGUEZ was a fugitive from the state of New York who was wanted for charges of Sodomy, Rape with Violence, Weapons violations, Armed Robbery, Drug Distribution, Criminal Trespassing, Disorderly Conduct, and Resisting Arrest. Immediately, Specialist Machuca relayed the information to the agents. By this time, the PRPD Transit Officers had concluded the accident investigation. The agents visited several PRPD stations until they were able to down the PRPD Transit Officers. The PRPD Officers had released RODRIGUEZ and were not aware that he was a wanted felon.

Through the information obtained by Specialist Machuca, Agents Batiz, Colon and Lopez were able to locate RODRIGUEZ’s residence in Bayamon, PR, where they interviewed his mother. Following the interview, RODRIGUEZ arrived at the residence and was also interviewed by the agents. RODRIGUEZ admitted that he was a fugitive from the State of New York since 1995. RODRIGUEZ was arrested and taken to the HIDTA San Juan offices to obtain additional information required by the PRPD. S/A Lopez contacted Officer Anthony Wright from the New York State Police’s Warrants and Records Office in Albany, New York, whom provided copy of the State of New York arrest warrant, fingerprints and mug shots. The Agents then transported RODRIGUEZ to the PRPD Special Arrests and Extraditions Unit which took custody of RODRIGUEZ. A Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, San Juan District, Superior Court Judge ordered RODRIGUEZ incarceration after he could not post the imposed bail of $200,000.00 pending a formal Extradition Hearing.

This remarkable teamwork and the sense of duty of the PRPD, PRDOJ’s Special Investigations Bureau, PRNG and DEA personnel resulted in the apprehension of a dangerous violent fugitive who sough refuge in Puerto Rico and terminated his 9 years on the lam. Now, once and for all, he will face justice in the State of New York.

 

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