He moved boatloads of Colombian cocaine through the Caribbean to U.S. shores, bought dozens of luxury homes and built a house in the Dominican Republican with his own personal zoo, police say. When he was nabbed for murder in the late '90s, he paid the jailers $1 million to escape -- and then bragged about it on the D.R.'s most popular radio show.
But the long escape of Jose Figueroa Agosto -- named the "Pablo Escobar of the Caribbean" by U.S. Marshals -- came to an appropriately bad-ass end this weekend when police spotted him wearing a wig in San Juan and chased him down on foot.
Agosto, a 45-year-old American citizen, started building his empire in the 90s by shipping Colombian coke through Puerto Rico and into the U.S. mainland, police say.
He was arrested after murdering a man he suspected of stealing a cocaine shipment, and later sentenced to 209 years in prison after his conviction. But just four years later, in 1999, he apparently bribed police to make a fake release order and slipped out of jail.
Figueroa fled to the Dominican and re-established his empire there, police say. His wealth was exposed in part last September when Dominican police, acting on U.S. intelligence, raided his high-rise condo in Santo Domingo.
As detailed by the Huffington Post, Figueroa escaped on foot after police shot out his Jeep's tires, but he left behind laptops full of aliases and a half dozen of his addresses, including the ranch with a zoo outside the Dominican capital. Police also found an armored Mercedes with $4.6 million in cash stuffed within.
On Saturday, Agosto tried to run off on foot again after police spotted him driving in San Juan, but this time he couldn't escape.
"We asked him his name, and he simply answered that we knew who he was," Antonio Torres, head of Puerto Rico's branch of the Marshals Service, told reporters.
Tim Elfrink is an award-winning investigative reporter, the managing editor of the Miami New Times and the co-author of "Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era." Since 2008, he's written in-depth pieces on police corruption, fatal shootings and social justice issues across South Florida. He's won the George Polk Award and has been a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.