SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Supporters of Puerto Rican independence welcomed a 69-year-old islander home Thursday after serving jail time for his role in the 1983 holdup of a Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford that netted his militant group $7 million - the largest heist in U.S. history at the time.
Norberto Gonzalez Claudio arrived in the U.S. territory just hours after being released from a prison in Florida. About 150 supporters raised fists and waved Puerto Rican flags as Gonzalez emerged from the airport. Steadied by his wife, he stood on a bench and briefly addressed the crowd in a quiet voice.
"Thank you so much for everything," he said. "Long live a free Puerto Rico!"
Gonzalez eluded the FBI for decades until his arrest in May 2011 while on a morning walk in the central mountain town of Cayey. FBI agents believe he had been living in Puerto Rico all that time under a false name. In June 2012, he pleaded guilty to foreign transportation of stolen money and conspiracy to rob federally insured bank funds as part of a plea agreement.