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Not Guilty Plea In 1983 Armed Robbery

Courant Staff Writer

February 29, 2008

Avelino Gonzalez Claudio, a reputed member of the militant Puerto Rico independence group Los Macheteros, pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Hartford to more than a dozen charges connected to the 1983 armed robbery of $7.1 million from the former Wells Fargo armored car depot in West Hartford.

Gonzalez, 65, a fugitive for more than 20 years, was captured in Puerto Rico by the FBI on Feb. 7. He is believed to have lived on the island since the robbery and, at least recently, was teaching at a private school under an assumed name.

After two brief court appearances on the island this month, a U.S. District judge in Puerto Rico ordered him transferred to Hartford, where he now is scheduled to stand trial for participating in what, in 1983, was the largest cash robbery in U.S. history.

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