Two Members of ‘Most Wanted’ List Surrender After Years on the Lam
CHICAGO (AP) _ Two of the FBI’s 10 most-wanted fugitives surrendered Tuesday after nine years on the run on charges they plotted a helicopter prison break for the reputed head of the Puerto Rican separatist group FALN.
Claude Daniel Marks and Donna Jean Willmott were indicted in 1986 on conspiracy charges in the failed plot to break FALN leader Oscar Lopez out of the maximum-security federal prison at Leavenworth, Kan. They went underground in Los Angeles in 1985 and were put on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list in 1987.
The two had begun negotiating a surrender with authorities last winter, U.S. Attorney James Burns said. He said both were married and kept their families in hiding with them, but the prosecutor refused to give details.
The FALN, a Spanish acronym for Armed Forces of National Liberation, claimed responsibility for more than 150 bombings from 1975 to 1984 in its campaign to win independence for Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth.
Six people have been killed and more than 100 injured in FALN violence in the United States, prosecutors said.
Marks and Willmott were not members of the FALN and were never charged with the its activities.
Prosecutors said four FALN members planned to use rockets, hand grenades and a helicopter in 1986 to free Lopez, who was serving a 55-year sentence for a 1981 conviction on seditious conspiracy charges.
The purported plot was foiled after it was infiltrated by the FBI.
Lopez and two others later were convicted of charges stemming from the escape attempt. He was sentenced to an additional 15 years for masterminding the plot; his co-defendants received lesser terms.
After the escape attempt, security was changed at Leavenworth and other federal prisons to foil helicopter escapes.