Individual Sentenced To Five Years In Prison For Malicious Use Of Explosives
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico– Noel D. Cruz-Torres was sentenced before US District Court Judge Gustavo Gelpí to 60 months in prison, and three years of supervised release, for malicious use of explosive materials, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. Cruz-Torres had plead guilty on November 16, 2016.
On June of 2016, Cruz-Torres was arrested after throwing Molotov cocktails at the DuPont Pioneer building in Salinas, PR, and at Puerto Rico Police Department officers who detained him. DuPont Pioneer is an agricultural business that conducts crop-genetic research and development. It imports seed from Iowa for research purposes.
According to the information contained in the plea agreement, on June 18, 2016, an individual called the 911 system to report an explosion near DuPont Pioneer. When police and firefighters arrived, they saw a vehicle burning nearby. PRPD officers reported that an individual was throwing Molotov cocktails at the building. The officers walked around the building and saw Cruz-Torres wearing a black t-shirt wrapped around his face and carrying a black backpack. While police pursued Cruz-Torres, he threw various Molotov cocktails at the officers. He also threw another lit Molotov at the fire truck.
Cruz-Torres had a flag with the words “LEVANTATE BORICUA Q HA LLEGADO EL MOMENTO DE DEFENDER NTRA PATRIA: VIVA P.R. Libre” (sic) (as translated in the criminal complaint, “Rise up Puerto Rican, the moment to defend our fatherland has arrived: long live free Puerto Rico.”)
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alexander Alum. The FBI was in charge of the investigation with the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Police Department.