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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Probable cause found against alleged killers of boxer Héctor ‘Macho’ Camacho

“There is justice for my son,” María Matías, mother of the late boxer Héctor “Macho” Camacho, said Wednesday at the Superior Court in Bayamón.

By The Star Staff

Ten years after the tragic event, the Bayamón Superior Court found probable cause Wednesday against five men who allegedly killed famed boxer Héctor “Macho” Camacho and a friend in November 2012.

The suspects were identified as Joshua Méndez Romero, Jesús Naranjo Adorno, Luis Ayala García, Juan R. Figueroa Rivera, and Wilfredo Rodríguez Rodríguez.

“There is justice for my son,” María Matías, mother of the late boxer, said Wednesday when the prosecutors of the alleged murderers of Camacho and Adrián Mojica Montalvo, Camacho’s friend, announced the court ruling at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m calm now. I have the pain, because that is not going to go away, but I am grateful to [the prosecutors],” Matías said during the press conference.

“They granted me justice, and that is the most I can ask for,” she said. “I waited ten years. I went from police station to police station looking for justice for my son. I didn’t stop. I came from New York, I paid for the [airline ticket], I was in the police stations for two and three months looking for justice for my son and finally God gave me justice. I thank everyone because Macho loved everyone and because he was a good son.”

The police probe culminated in the clarification and filing of 27 criminal charges by the Puerto Rico Department of Justice against the suspects. Judge Milagros Muñiz Más found cause for arrest for all the crimes filed by prosecutors.

“Impunity has no place in the new Department of Justice,” Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández said. “If you committed a crime, rest assured that we are coming for you.”

He confirmed that the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Drugs Division, led by prosecutor Janet Parra Mercado, filed charges of conspiracy and murder in the first degree against all suspects. He added that Rodríguez Rodríguez, Ayala García and Méndez Romero also face two charges for violations of the Weapons Law for carrying and firing a firearm, and one charge under the Law Against Organized Crime and Money Laundering.

Puerto Rico Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa said “there are investigations that take longer than others.” “But this case shows that in the end we are going to find those responsible and with the help of the Department of Justice, we will prosecute them,” he said.

Camacho died on Nov. 24, several days after he was taken off life support. A passing gunman had shot Camacho, who was in a car in front of a bar in his hometown of Bayamón. He had been declared clinically brain dead and placed on life support.

Camacho, a former multi-division champion, was in the passenger seat of the car whose driver was shot twice and killed.

Authorities at the time found nine bags of cocaine on the slain driver, who had a long history of drug-related charges and was Camacho’s friend.

Camacho was considered a promoter’s godsend because he was a showman in the ring against some of the greatest fighters of his era: Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Oscar de la Hoya, Julio César Chávez, Félix Trinidad and Vinny Pazienza.

He was known for long, flashy trunks with tassels, and he enjoyed being theatrical, as evidenced by his “Macho” nickname.

His flamboyance was as dazzling as his hand-and-foot speed, and his titles and victories attested to his talent.

A southpaw, he won world titles in the classes of super lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight in the 1980s. He amassed a record of 79 victories, six losses and three draws.

Among his high-profile bouts was his 1997 knockout of Leonard, ending his comeback effort. But the same year, Camacho lost to de la Hoya.

His most recent fight was in 2010, when he was well past his prime and his life was being marked by drug, alcohol and marital problems. He lost that bout to Saúl Durán.

Camacho, who was born in Bayamón and raised in New York after his family moved to Spanish Harlem, was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y. in 2016.

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