A federal judge ruled on Tuesday, April 15, that Avelino González Claudio, 65 years old, accused of having participated in a 1983 robbery of a deposit from armored cars, might flee, and thus must remain in jail without bail until his trial. Authorities said Claudio was one of more than 12 alleged members of the Puerto Rican independence group The Macheteros, which expropriated 7 million dollars from a Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford.
González’ attorney, James Bergenn, suggested that his client be under house arrest and monitored by an electronic bracelet. Family members offered collateral of real estate worth $500,000. However, Smith said that González remained a fugitive for 23 years, and that the robbery was the largest bank robbery in the history of the United States, making the charges “incredibly serious.”
The robbery was allegedly carried out by Victor Gerena, a Wells Fargo driver recruited by The Macheteros. González is accused of helping Gerena flee the United States with the booty, which weighed almost half a ton. The FBI believes that Gerena and part of the money traveled first to Mexico and then to Cuba.
The Macheteros allegedly used the money to finance several bombings and other attacks to promote independence for the island. Their alleged leader, Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, died in 2005 in a shootout with the FBI at a farm in Puerto Rico.
Gerena and González’ brother, Norberto González Claudio, are the only suspects who remain fugitives. Gerena continues to be on the FBI’s ten most wanted list, with a reward of a million dollars for his capture.