5 accused a decade after the death of a prominent Puerto Rican boxer

SAN JUAN – With heads bowed and surrounded by heavily armed police, the first suspects arrested nearly a decade after the fatal shooting of famed Puerto Rico boxer Héctor Camacho appeared in court on Wednesday to face murder charges.

Five men are accused of murdering the fighter, nicknamed “Macho Camacho,” and a friend while they sat in a Ford Mustang outside a bar in November 2012, a murder that shocked many who worshiped the boxer.

Three of the suspects were serving federal sentences for unrelated crimes and were flown in from Florida in what police are dubbing “Operation Knockout.” A fourth suspect was arrested in the early hours of the morning in the same town where Camacho was killed, and emerged with only a towel around his waist minutes after police surrounded his home with long guns and pounded on a window. A fifth suspect remains in a Puerto Rico jail on an unrelated case.

Authorities said two other suspects were killed in unrelated events in 2013 and 2015.

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Hours after the suspects were charged, Camacho’s elderly mother entered the Puerto Rico Department of Justice and raised her right fist.

“Justice! Justice done!” she exclaimed as her voice cracked.

Camacho, 50, was shot in the face and was clinically brain dead but survived for several days after the shooting as relatives debated what to do while supporters stood guard outside the hospital.

Former Puerto Rican boxer Víctor Callejas, a close friend of Camacho, told The Associated Press it was extremely important to him that several suspects in the case were finally charged as he continues to mourn the fighter: “He wasn’t the guy who wanted enemies. On the contrary, he always strived to make people laugh in one way or another. He was a unique character.”

Police said Camacho was once shot while sitting in a car with a friend, identified as Adrián Mojica Moreno, outside a bar called “Azuquita” in the northern city of Bayamón, who had nine small bags of cocaine in his bag and one tenth bag was open. Moreno was also shot once.

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Janet Parra, a prosecutor who oversees the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drugs Division, said she could not disclose the motive behind the killing or share any evidence. However, she said authorities followed up on every tip received and found it sometimes led them to a dead end.

“We didn’t stay with our arms crossed,” she said.

Jessika Correa, who oversees the prosecutor’s office, added that she was pleased with the arrests: “This case has rocked (the island)… A Puerto Rican boxing star has died.”

The suspects have been identified as William Rodríguez Rodríguez, Luis Ayala García and Joshua Méndez Romero, who are being held on an $800,000 bond. The fourth suspect was identified as Jesús Naranjo Adorno, who was being held on $300,000 bail. The fifth was identified as Juan Figueroa Rivera, held on a $1 million bond.

Her lawyers could not be immediately reached for comment.

“You did me justice,” Camacho’s mother said. “I can sleep easy. I can eat and drink a small cup of coffee in the morning.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/03/09/5-accused-a-decade-after-renowned-puerto-rican-boxer-killed/ 5 accused a decade after the death of a prominent Puerto Rican boxer

Joel McCord

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