Thursday, August 23, 2007

Drug trafficking suspect who fled Miami found in Spain - 08/13/2007 -

Two weeks after his family posted a $1 million bond to get him out of federal custody, Darli Velazquez Armas disappeared.

It took the bail bond company, Bail Yes, of Miami, a few months, but last week their investigators tracked Velazquez to Spain. That's where Spanish authorities, agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the bail bondsmen picked him up, said Sam Jochananov, a bondsman.

Velazquez is facing federal drug trafficking charges. According to an affidavit filed in court, on Jan. 30 Velazquez received 85 kilograms of a white powder he thought was cocaine during a sting organized by the DEA. Border agents had already seized the real stuff, 130 kilos from Ecuador found in a shipping container at the Port of Miami.

After his arrest, Velazquez put up the house he shared with his ex-wife -- it belongs to her father -- as well as another house in North Carolina as collateral for the bond, Jochananov said.

''He was on an ankle monitor. It went off and the feds went over there on March 11,'' Jochananov said. ``They went to the house, found he wasn't there.''

So the bond company hired bounty hunter Rolando Betancourt, who rented a garbage truck and picked up the Velazquez's family's garbage. In the trash: business cards indicating Velazquez had skipped to Spain, according to an investigative report provided to The Miami Herald by the bond company.

''Over there, at first he wasn't too careful,'' Jochananov said. ``He was actually using his own name.''

The bail bond company quickly sent an investigator to Spain.

''When you got that much at risk, you sort of put your nose to the grindstone,'' he said. ``I mean, it's a million-dollar skip.''

The Spanish Interior Ministry told the Associated Press that Velazquez was arrested in the Canary Islands in a raid coordinated with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

He was first located in June in a Madrid suburb, but he escaped a dragnet after ramming his car into a police vehicle. Later, he was found in the town of Vecindario on Gran Canaria, one of Spain's Canary Islands, from where he had continued to engage in drug trafficking, officials said. They put him under surveillance, the Spanish ministry told the AP.

Last Friday, police chased Velazquez from Vecindario to the capital city Las Palmas, the AP reported. At one point Velazquez got out of his car and fled on foot through a cemetery. He later attempted two carjackings before police finally arrested him in an industrial area, and even then he tried to grab an officer's gun, a ministry official told the AP.

No comments: