February 5, 2007

International Fugitive Caught During Routine Traffic-Stop

A routine traffic-stop in New York led to the arrest of an international fugitive from Ecuador, who is suspected in the deaths of a politician and two others.

Police in Palenville, New York pulled over Christian Steven Ponce, 36, of Quito, Ecuador, on Saturday for not wearing his seatbelt, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.

When police ran a license and warrant check on Ponce they discovered that he was wanted in Ecuador for triple homicide. He was arraigned in Catskill Town Court and is being held in jail without bail as he awaits extradition.

Ponce, along with two associates, was suspected of fatally shooting former Ecuadorean presidential candidate Jaime Hurtado on Feb. 17, 1999, in Quito. Pablo Vicente Tapia, Hurtado's nephew, and their bodyguard, Wellington Borja Nazareno were also killed in the shooting.

Ponce was arrested two days after the shooting and shortly afterwards fled from Ecuador.