NJ highway billboard leads to FBI capture of fugitive with Hudson ties

Photo Credit: FBI, NEWARK
Photo Credit: FBI, NEWARK

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A billboard on a New Jersey highway was all it took to lead FBI agents to a tattooed felon with ties to Union City who jumped bail last year and was considered armed and dangerous. They came up quickly on Luis “Junito” Colon Jr. as he got into a car in a suburb outside of Detroit the other night and took him into custody.


Michael B. Ward, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark office, credited a tipster who recognized Colon’s face on a digital billboard as that of a man he’d corresponded with online.

Using that information, agents tracked Colon to an apartment complex in Madison Heights, MI — the same place he’d lived six or seven years ago.

After watching for two weeks, they moved in Monday night, Ward said.

Federal authorities said Colon bought large quantities of pesticides using stolen credit and debit cards on the Internet or over the phone from companies located in Georgia, Texas and elsewhere. The pesticides were for commercial use and not terrorism, the government said.

Investigators say Colon got the credit and debit card information from homeowners by convincing them he worked for a utility company and was giving them a discount for setting up automatic billing.

He had the materials shipped to addresses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for resale at a store in Philadelphia, the FBI said.

The 6-foot, 180-pound fugitive was difficult to miss: He has several tattoos, including stars on his neck, an image of Jesus on his chest and a cross on his back.

“He is considered very violent and is known to typically carry a gun,” Special Agent Bryan L. Travers of the Newark FBI Field Office told CLIFFVIEW PILOT on Nov. 16, 2011, the day Colon failed to show up in federal court for his arraignment.

He’d been free on bail, with electronic monitoring, after being arrested here in September.

“I’d like to thank ClearChannel Outdoor for their substantial support of the FBI’s Fugitive Program,” Ward said. “It’s imperative for the integrity of the legal process that individuals honor the terms of their authorized release, and when they flee that law enforcement be diligent in their pursuit. The digital billboard program has been a tremendous success, and Luis Colon Jr.’s capture is yet another example of that successful partnership.”

A federal judge in Detroit yesterday remanded Colon to the custody of the U.S. Marshals for transport to Newark to face his original charges. A court date will be set.


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