Criminal Justice News

Monday, January 07, 2013

U.S. Marshals Task Force Captures a 15 Most Wanted Fugitive in Fort Myers, Florida

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force apprehended Felipe Alexander Torrealba, one of the agency’s 15 Most Wanted fugitives, Thursday at an apartment complex on Dublin Circle in Fort Myers, Fla.

Torrealba, an elusive fugitive who was reportedly born in Venezuela and has used almost a dozen aliases, was being sought by the U.S. Marshals Task Force since January and was added to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted list in October.

Torrealba, 26, is wanted by the Broward County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office for questioning in the murder of a 42-year-old man earlier this year. In addition, local law enforcement agencies in both south Florida and Texas have warrants for Torrealba on charges of aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, trafficking oxycodone, unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, aggravated assault with a firearm and resisting officers with violence.

During the arrest, two handguns, approximately $15,000 dollars in cash, a pair of binoculars and a wig were found in plain view inside the two-story townhouse where Torrealba was hiding. A rental vehicle with two different Texas license plates was parked outside the townhouse; it is believed to be the vehicle Torrealba was using to elude law enforcement.

During his life on the run, Torrealba has eluded capture on at least three occasions. On Jan. 2, Sweetwater, Fla., police officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle believed to be driven by Torrealba. The officers discovered the vehicle was stolen and Torrealba had outstanding warrants. Torrealba allegedly grabbed a weapon from the driver’s side and fled from the scene in the stolen vehicle. In April, Torrrealba allegedly attempted to sell five kilograms of cocaine to an undercover police officer in Brownsville, Texas.

After showing the officer one kilogram of cocaine and leaving to retrieve the other four kilograms, Torrealba again fled in a Chevy Tahoe and evaded capture from law enforcement officers. In August, Torrealba is believed to have fled from a location in Cape Coral, Fla., just minutes before members of the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force located a house where Torrealba and his girlfriend were believed to be in hiding. Torrealba has been reported to be very confrontational with law enforcement. On Sept. 26, 2011, Torrealba was allegedly involved in an altercation with two off-duty Broward County Sheriff’s deputies. Torrealba reportedly pulled a handgun and began firing at officers. Torrealba attempted to flee the area, but the deputies captured Torrealba, and he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. Torrealba was released on bond, later failing to appear in court. The Broward Sheriff’s Office issued an arrest warrant on those charges.

“Felipe Torrealba has been a violent career offender with a criminal history which dates back to 2000,” said Angel Gonzalez, deputy assistant director of the U.S. Marshals Investigative Operations Division. “I commend our task force officers for their dedication and determined effort to track down and arrest this dangerous fugitive.”

During the Marshals investigation a reward of up to $25,000 was being offered for Torrealba’s capture. He will be held in custody pending criminal charges in Florida and Texas.

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