Hector Rivera had been on the run for more than three years. But the hunt for the 35-year-old man, suspected of trafficking and distributing methamphetamine in Pennsylvania, ended Friday, June 17 at the Mexico Lindo restaurant in Brick.
The popular Mexican restaurant, situated in the middle of a jug-handle on Burnt Tavern Road, was where U.S. marshals from Pennsylvania and New Jersey finally caught Rivera, who was indicted April 8, 2008, by a federal grand jury on charges of distribution and possession with intent to distribute in excess of 500 grams of methamphetamine and use of a telephone to facilitate the commission of criminal acts, according to Martin J. Pane, acting U.S. marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Rivera was indicted along with his brother, Juan Rivera, for his alleged role in a methamphetamine trafficking ring operating in Schuylkill County, Pa. The indictment charged that the Rivera brothers obtained methamphetamine from suppliers in Las Vegas, brought it to Schuylkill County and elsewhere in Pennsylvania, and then distributed it numerous locations. The Rivera brothers were also charged with using cellular telephones to maintain contact with their co-conspirators and customers.
Shortly after the April 2008 federal indictment, Juan Rivera was arrested in Berks County, Pa., but Hector Rivera’s whereabouts were unknown, and he was declared a fugitive. On April 14, 2008, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration delegated apprehension responsibility to the United States Marshals Service.
The Marshals Service developed leads over 38 months, according to Pane, and last Friday marshals from Scranton, Pa., teamed up with their New Jersey counterparts to follow up on a lead at the Jersey Shore. Around 1 p.m., they caught up to Rivera at Mexico Lindo and arrested him. Federal officials did not say why Rivera was at the restaurant at the time.
“Although Rivera was on the run for three years, the U.S. Marshals Service never slowed in their pursuit,” Pane said. “Fugitives must know they can run, but they cannot hide. We will ensure they are ultimately brought to justice.”
Hector Rivera is currently being held in New Jersey pending federal court proceedings, Pane said.
As for his brother, Juan Rivera pleaded guilty in federal court in October 2008 to all of the charges leveled against him. In June 2010, he was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik to serve 188 months – just under 16 years – in a federal prison.