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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A man wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service since the 1990s has been arrested in Miami-Dade County.
Strong-arm robbers trashed a Hialeah nail shop on August 7th. They left a hole in the ceiling and another hole in the wall.
The plan was break into the jewelry store next door and hold up the owners.
But it didn’t work as the cops had an informant and the jewelry store owner caught on.
“You know he got caught, he could not get in and he ran,” said Nicole Oliva.
Days later Hialeah police busted three suspects: Jose Pineda, Yamile Diaz Bernal and Anibal Mustelier, while a fourth is still on the loose.
But what turned out to be a botched robbery resulted in the arrest of a fugitive 26 years on the run.
“When we ran him we realized that we went fishing for a grouper and we caught ourselves a whale. He is called the ghost. He disappeared 26 years ago,” said Hialeah police Sgt. Carl Zogby.
Zogby is referring to Mustelier.
Investigators said Mustelier has been associated with several contract murders throughout the Caribbean dating back to the 1980s.
But he’s best known for a multi-million dollary heist out of a safe deposit box at the SunTrust bank on Miami’s Brickell Avenue. That is where a Hialeah jewelry store chain kept most of their inventory.
“They stole all the jewelry, got away with about $5 million worth of jewelry in 1996 from SunTrust, this (the owner of the jewelry) was a Hialeah based jewelry chain,” said Hialeah police Sgt. Carl Zogby. “This heist that this group committed cost about 50 people their jobs. Ten stores had to shut down eventually as a result of this robbery that no business owner can recover from.”
According to the U.S. Marshals Service, they issued a warrant for Mustelier’s arrest in 1995 in an extortion case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also wanted him for a costly 1997 jewelry heist in downtown Miami.
Mustelier, now 66 years old, was in bond court Tuesday.
He is facing a slew of charges including grand theft, false imprisonment with a deadly weapon, burglary, armed robbery, and criminal mischief among other things.
The bond court judge took interest in the safety deposit box theft.
“I want to take a look at this warrant from 1996,” the judge said.
But that was history.
Mustelier apparently got back in business several years ago. Detectives noted his crew had taken down two Hialeah jewelry stores in the last year, including one in September of 2015 that had the same M.O.
He eluded authorities for many years using various aliases including Emilio Suarez, Barrero Musteler, Anibal Musieler, Anibal Mustellier, Anileal Mustelier, Ramon Llerena and Anivan Mutelier.
“You can run for a while, but you cannot change your stripes,” Ari Shapira said. “After 26 years later, you are going to involve yourself in something and be brought to justice.”