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3-Year Hunt for Suspected Drug Kingpin Ends in Brick Restaurant

U.S. Marshals, in Brick, arrest man indicted on charge of running meth ring

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.

Seamus O'Malley June 21, 2011 at 11:55 AM
Hmmmmmm 1pm, in a restaurant, I wonder why they won't say what he was doing. if he wasn't there eating, maybe he was working and they are to embarrassed to say it took 3 years to find him and he's been working in the same place the whole time. Just a thought.
BW June 21, 2011 at 01:10 PM
Want to bet he is undocumented?
None of your business June 21, 2011 at 03:08 PM
This happened on my street, the US Marshall's were questioning my neighbors. The house I assume he was staying at was a few doors down from me. I believe he was at a family members home.. And for the record he was working at the restraunt, the neighbors down the street own it....
None of your business June 21, 2011 at 03:38 PM
I know the whole story, what happened, and how, but I cant disclose the information...
. June 21, 2011 at 04:32 PM
You know what they say.....never assume!
Kieth Stone June 21, 2011 at 11:02 PM
This won't stop me from eating there... Great food!

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