For Immediate Release
|November 16, 2010||
USMS Headquarters Public Affairs, (202) 307-9065;
USM Kevin A. Carr (414) 297-3707
|United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Wisconsin announces the arrest of Arthur Lopez Jr.|
MILWAUKEE – Kevin A. Carr, United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and Nancy McNamara, Special Agent in Charge for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Milwaukee Division, announced the arrest of Arthur Lopez Jr.. The only alleged member of a notorious family drug ring in Milwaukee that had evaded arrest for eleven years was taken into custody last night by the Mexican Agencia Federal de Investigacion (AFI) in Monterrey, Mexico. As AFI investigators were closing in on Lopez, he surrendered to the U.S. Consulate.
Lopez had been featured on the Fox television program ‘America’s Most Wanted’. In February of this year, an anonymous caller to the program led investigators from the US Marshals, the FBI and the AFI to Monterrey, Mexico. The search intensified over the last month when investigators confirmed that Lopez was using the alias of Roberto Gonzalez-Orozco.
Marshal Carr credited teamwork for the capture of Lopez. “The combined efforts of the US Marshals, the FBI, the AFI, the US Attorney’s Office and the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) were essential to the success of this fugitive investigation”. SAC McNamara added "The apprehension of this fugitive underscores the importance of working with our local, state, federal and international law enforcement partners."
Lopez was wanted for his role in three 1999 drug-related slayings, including the brutal murder of Carlos "Hollywood" Hernandez, a member of the Latin Kings who claimed to have quit the gang to become a community activist.
Along with his father, Arturo Lopez Sr., and uncle, Julian “Big Dog” Lopez, the alleged leader of the ring, Lopez ran the family drug-trafficking enterprise using acts of intimidation and deadly violence. Authorities believe the ring is responsible for multiple drive-by shootings and at least six homicides.
As a primary force in the drug organization, DCI investigators believe Lopez was responsible for locating the group’s drug sources, determining prices and sometimes acting as a ruthless enforcer.
Following a bloody turf battle between the Lopez ring and the Latin Kings for a stretch of 10th Street on Milwaukee’s Southside in December 1999, law enforcement agents executed one of the largest search warrants in the city’s history.
Along with 10 other family members and associates, authorities ultimately arrested Lopez’s father and uncle on federal drug conspiracy charges. They pleaded guilty. Lopez Sr. was sentenced to life in prison without parole; his uncle, "Big Dog," got three life terms for two murders.
But a month prior to the raid, “Junior,” as he was known on the streets, simply disappeared.
Lopez was charged in March 2001 for allegedly driving the getaway car for drug associate Luis Acevedo on Aug. 11, 1999, when Acevedo fatally shot Maximillano Castillo Jr., 19, and 15-year-old Vanessa Rivas during a 40-bullet drive-by shooting.
Acevedo, then 20, confessed to shooting Castillo as part of a longstanding drug feud. Rivas, a bystander, was killed by a stray bullet.
Lopez was also charged in the February 1999 slaying of "Hollywood" Hernandez, a 32-year-old outreach worker at the nearby Social Development Commission (SDC). Hernandez’s slaying was particularly divisive to the Southside Milwaukee neighborhood because he was seen as a reformed member of the Latin Kings. But authorities would later learn that "Hollywood" had apparently continued to run the Latin Kings’ drug operation.
A Lopez family member who became a prosecution witness, Ernesto Lopez Jr., reportedly told police that Hernandez opposed the Lopez family’s intention to take over a portion of the narcotics market controlled by the Latin Kings.
Seen as an obstacle to the family’s dominance of the local drug trade, Hernandez was gunned down as he arrived for work at an SDC office. According to court documents, Lopez, clad in a ski mask, shot Hernandez while riding a bicycle after receiving a two-way radio message sent from an associate: “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”
Lopez, now ‘America’s Most Wanted arrest number 1,136’, awaits extradition proceedings in Mexico City before being brought back to Wisconsin to face charges in federal and state courts