Top-10 Gangster Arrested in Guatemala

February 28, 2007

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department announced the capture of its first Top-10 wanted gang member, 22-year-old Angel Zevallos. He was arrested in Guatemala on February 21, and flown to Houston, Texas, the next day. Zevallos has waived an extradition hearing in Houston, and detectives from the Hollywood Police Station will pick up Zevallos on Thursday and fly him back to Los Angeles.

"This capture was truly a team effort," said Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. "It was impressive to see how quickly this all came together. Interpol inspectors, deputy US marshals in the US embassy in Guatemala, and LAPD detectives worked as if they were across the room, rather than across a continent."

Chief Inspector Wilfredo Ramos, the Director of Interpol in Guatemala, was tipped off to Zevallos’ presence during an unrelated kidnapping investigation. A local resident mentioned a suspicious, tattooed man who had moved into the neighborhood in Guatemala City and was bragging about a murder in Los Angeles. The informant discreetly supplied Zevallos’ name and two photographs taken with a cell phone.

Inspector Ramos verified the suspicious man was Zevallos, a Peruvian national, who was in Guatemala illegally since December 2006. Interopol contacted LAPD’s Foreign Prosecution Liaison Unit (FPLU) and discovered Zevallos was wanted for shooting a security guard at the Buddha Bar in Hollywood on February 9, 2006. The guard had survived, but has never fully recovered from the rifle shot.

Los Angeles detectives coordinated Zevallos’ capture with Interpol and the Regional Security Officer (RSO) at the US Embassy in Guatemala City on February 19. The RSO is a deputy US Marshal who maintains close contacts with LAPD.

Deputy US marshals escorted Zevallos on a flight from Guatemala to Houston, Texas, on February 21, 2007. Special Agents from the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service also helped in Zevallos’ transfer from Guatemala to the USA.

Detectives believe Zevallos escaped to Guatemala by way of Las Vegas, Nevada, after the Hollywood shooting. Detectives traced Zevallos to Las Vegas and the local FBI office assisted in looking for him, but the trail went cold until the call came from Interpol last week.

The replacement on the Top-10 Most Wanted gang member list will be announced on a separate news release.