The FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list is a hugely useful publicity programme which helps the agency draw attention to some of the world’s most elusive criminals. The list is circulated amongst American and international media outlets (as well as being posted in public and government buildings like post offices) in the hopes that the increased attention will help bring forward new leads into ongoing investigations, and 471 of 502 fugitives have been located since the creation of the list in March 1950. Candidates are submitted by the FBI’s 56 field offices and the nominees for the final list are assessed and agreed upon by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and executive management. The list is not ranked or ordered, although some criminals have higher rewards for information which leads to their successful arrest, and the FBI can remove names from the list if the fugitives are apprehended, charges are dropped or they are no longer deemed dangerous to the public.
10. William Bradford Bishop (born 1936) : Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – Murder With a Blunt Instrument
The oldest person to ever be included on the top ten wanted list, Bradford was added in April 2014 for the brutal murder of his wife, mother and three sons on March 1st 1976. Bishop was a hard-working Yale graduate who worked for the U.S. Foreign Service. Bishop was described as an intense man prone to violent outbursts who had been in psychiatric care and took medication for depression. It is believed that on the afternoon of the murders Bishop had been told that he was being passed over for promotion at work and that this may have sparked the violent act. After killing his family with a hammer, Bishop burned and buried the bodies in a shallow grave and most likely immediately fled the country. Bishop was a licensed amateur pilot and his diplomatic passport (as well as lax air travel security and restrictions in the 70s) allowed him easy travel abroad. Bishop was indicted by a grand jury in 1976 based on evidence which included his suspicious disappearance, a sighting of him near the area where the bodies were buried and the discovery of his bloody fingerprints found in the family home. Despite the almost 40 year passing of time between the last known sighting of Bradford, the FBI aren’t deterred and they think that the new boost in publicity for the case could leave to an increase chance of finding and apprehending Bishop.
9. José Manuel García Guevara (born 1988) : Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – Second Degree Murder, Aggravated Rape, Aggravated Burglary
On February 19th 2008, José Guevara allegedly broke into a neighbour’s mobile home and raped her before stabbing her to death. The brutal crime was committed in front of the victim’s 4 year old stepson. Guevara bought a one-way bus ticket to Dallas and it is believed that he later moved onto Mexico, possibly settling in his hometown in the San Luis Potosí region. However, the FBI have also speculated that he may have since returned to the United States using fraudulent documentation. Guevara was indicted by a grand jury in April 2008 and there is a $100,000 reward for information which leads to his capture.
8. Fidel Urbina (born 1975) : First Degree Murder; Aggravated Kidnapping; Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – Aggravated Sexual Assault, Failure to Appear
Fidel Urbina was arrested in March 1998 for allegedly beating and raping a woman in Chicago. While out on bail, Urbina allegedly raped and killed another woman, Gabriella Torres, in October of the same year. Urbina was working as a car mechanic at the time and it is believed Torres brought her car in for repairs to his garage. Police later found her burned body in the trunk of a vehicle. Urbina was an illegal immigrant and It is believed that he returned to his hometown in Durango, Mexico shortly afterwards, although it is likely that he still has ties to the Chicago area. In 2006, a provisional arrest warrant was signed by a Mexican Federal Magistrate. Urbina was added to the list in June 2012 and a $100,000 reward has been offered for any information which leads to his capture.
7. Semion Mogilevich (born 1968) : Fraud by Wire; RICO Conspiracy; Mail Fraud; Money Laundering Conspiracy; Money Laundering; Aiding and Abetting; and more
Although the FBI has a separate ‘white collar’ list for fugitives involved in criminal activities like fraud and money laundering, mobster Semion Mogilevich has been involved in such a vast global network of illegal activity that he has made the more ‘serious’ ten Most Wanted list. The Ukrainian mobster started his life of crime as a petty crook on the streets of Moscow during the early 1970s, but he hit it big with a scam in the 1980s when he started defrauding Russian Jews who were emigrating to Israel, Europe and the U.S. Mogilevich offered to buy his victim’s possessions at a dramatically reduced price so he could sell them at market for more money. Mogilevich promised to later send on a share of the profits to these people who were desperate to leave the country, but he never did. Incredibly, Mogilevich made millions from the scheme and poured the money into other illegal enterprises like prostitution, gambling and weapons and drugs smuggling. Mogilevich himself moved to Israel and later Budapest in the 90s and his global network grew and grew. He was added to the list in October 2009 thanks in large part due to his involvement in an scheme which defrauded thousands of U.S. and Canadian investors. Mogilevich was one of the heads of a multi-million dollar scheme which essentially created a fake, worthless public company called YBM Magnex International Inc and listed it on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The fraud was uncovered by Canadian journalists and the company’s headquarters were raided by the FBI. Its stock (which had been valued at more than $1 billion) plummeted overnight and investors lost an estimated $150 million. Semion Mogilevich was indicted for his involvement for the scheme by the U.S. in April 2003 and, although he was arrested in Russia for suspected tax evasion in 2008 (the charges were ultimately dropped), it is believed that he is now openly living in Moscow and even has ties to President Putin himself.
6. Eduardo “Tablas” Ravelo (born 1968) : Engaging in the Affairs of an Enterprise, Through a Pattern of Racketeering Activities; Conspiracy to Possess Heroin, Cocaine and Marijuana with the Intent to Distribute
A high-ranking member of the cartel-affiliated Barrio Aztecas gang, Eduardo Ravelo is thought to be one of the most dangerous street-level gangsters in the world. Now a gang captain (or ‘capo’), Ravelo quickly rose through the ranks of the Barrio Aztecas in the late 90s thanks to his ties with the Juarez cartel. It is alleged that Ravelo (along with other gang members of the 600 strong Barrio Aztecas) now works as a hitman for Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, the head of the Juarez cartel, and that he also helps coordinate and issue orders to fellow gang members in Juarez. Ravelo is also sought for several drugs-related and money laundering charges. Ravelo is originally from Mexico and it is thought that he now resides in Juarez city, but he did at one time possess permanent resident status in the U.S. Ravelo is considered to be armed and highly dangerous and he is said to be protected by bodyguards and armoured vehicles. The FBI believes that he may also have had plastic surgery to change his appearance and that he has even altered his fingerprints.
5. Jason Derek Brown (born 1969) : Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – First Degree Murder, Armed Robbery
Jason Derek Brown doesn’t have the background of a typical violent armed robber. A college graduate with a master’s degree in International Studies, Brown was a missionary in France for the Latter Day Saints between 1988 and 1990 and, when he returned to America, he established two successful businesses which he operated out of his Utah home. However, Brown had expensive tastes and, although he portrayed himself as a wealthy businessman, he couldn’t afford his luxurious lifestyle of fast cars, motorboats and motorcycles. In November 2004, Brown bought a .45 Glock pistol and attended a firearms training class (where he was identified and fingerprinted). On November 29th in Phoenix, Arizona, an armoured truck guard named Robert Keith Palomares was shot five times in the head by a hooded assailant who took off on a bicycle with $56,000 in cash. Although the hooded robber was initially identified as a hispanic man, fingerprints on the bicycle linked Brown to the crime. Brown bounced around the U.S. in the following months leaving behind a trail of credit card payments, ditched cars and mail packages sent to his family, before completely disappearing off the grid. He was added to the Most Wanted list in December 2007 and the FBI is now offering a $200,000 reward for any information which leads to his capture. His common name and appearance (which is often likened to being that of a ‘typical surfer dude’) has meant that the FBI has received more tips about Brown (the vast majority of which were unhelpful) from the public than any other fugitive on the list. The last confirmed appearance of Brown was in August 2008 when a mutual acquaintance of his recognised him stopped at a stoplight in Salt Lake City.
4. Alexis Flores (born 1975) : Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – Kidnapping, Murder
Alexis Flores was added to the Most Wanted list in March 2007 when his DNA was matched to the kidnapping and murder of a five year old girl in Philadelphia in 2000. Flores had come to the U.S. from his native Honduras and spent some time as an unemployed, homeless drifter. Going by the name ‘Carlos’, he eventually found shelter and work as a handyman in Philadelphia. On August 3rd 2000, the body of Iriana DeJesus was found in the basement where ‘Carlos’ had been staying. The five year old girl had been missing for five days and police discovered that she had been sexually assaulted and strangled. DeJesus was wrapped in a t-shirt which was identified as an article of clothing which had been lent to ‘Carlos’ by his employer and a sketch of the suspect was circulated nationwide. In 2002, Flores was arrested for shoplifting and in 2004 he was visited by police over a noise dispute with a neighbour. Flores gave the police falsified identity documents and was subsequently arrested for possessing forgery equipment. Flores was incarcerated for 60 days before being deported back to Honduras. In 2006, his DNA was added to the FBI’s CODIS DNA database and the subsequent match in 2007 landed Flores a federal arrest warrant and a place on the Most Wanted list. The FBI believes that Flores could still be in his native Honduras or that he has since returned to the U.S.
3. Robert William “Bobby” Fisher Snr (born 1961) : Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – First Degree Murder (3 Counts), Arson of an Occupied Structure
On April 10th 2001, firefighters were called to the scene of a natural gas explosion at a home in Scottsdale, Arizona. When the blaze was extinguished, the bodies of three people lying in the bed were found amongst the remnants of the collapsed building. The bodies were identified as Mary Fisher and her two young children Brittney Fisher and Robert William Fisher Jnr. Mary had been shot in the back of the head and the two young children had had their throats slashed. Further investigation revealed that the explosion and subsequent fire had been caused by a pulled gas line in the house’s furnace, and missing husband Robert Fisher Snr became the lead (and only) suspect of the triple murder. Fisher’s car was found 100 miles away on April 20th and state and federal arrest warrants were issued less than a month later. Fisher was placed on the FBI list in June 2002. It has been speculated that Fisher committed the violent crime because he feared that his wife was going to divorce him. Described as a cocky, arrogant loner, the FBI believes that Fisher may have changed his appearance and started a new life in Florida or New Mexico.
2. Glen Stewart Godwin (born 1958) : Unlawful Flight to Avoid Confinement – Murder, Escape
Glen Stewart Godwin is a violent criminal who was added to the Most Wanted list in April 1996 after he successfully escaped from two prisons. Sentenced to 26-years-to-life at the maximum security Folsom Prison in 1983 for the robbery and murder of a drug dealer three years before, Godwin was less than five years into his sentence when he performed an audacious escape. Using tools that had been smuggled into Folsom, Godwin cut through a fence, dived into a storm drain and sailed down river on a raft which had been left for him by accomplices (it later transpired that his wife and a former cellmate had helped him escape). Godwin fled to Mexico and started working in narcotic distribution, but he was arrested in 1991 and sentenced to seven years in Puente Grande prison. In an effort to delay his extradition proceedings, Godwin killed a fellow inmate in prison and used the extra time to escape from Puente Grande. The FBI believe that he may have relocated to Latin America under a new name and that he is still working in the illegal drug trade.
1. Victor Manuel Gerena (born 1958) : Bank Robbery; Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – Armed Robbery; Theft From Interstate Shipment
Victor Manuel Gerena has spent more time on the Most Wanted list than any other criminal. Added to the list in May 1984, Gerena is sought in connection to an armed robbery at an armoured car depot in September 1983 which banked him $7 million. Gerena, who was a security guard at the secure Connecticut facility, pulled a gun on his two co-workers, tied them up and injected them with a sedative to knock them out. Gerena then drove off in a rented vehicle and shortly afterwards travelled to Mexico and then on to Havana, but no other information since then is known about him. At the time, the robbery was the largest in U.S. history (it was surpassed by the Loomis Fargo Bank Robbery in 1997) and the crime was later revealed to have connections to a group of Puerto Rican militants called Los Macheteros. A $1 million reward is being offered for any information which leads to the capture of Gerena.