Miami-Dade County

Miami man on lam for 16 years brought back from Spain to face prison

A Miami man on the lam for 16 years after being convicted of drug-trafficking and firearm offenses was brought back from Spain by U.S. authorities this week to serve his prison sentence.

Roberto Alonso, 50, who had been running a bar in Spain, was arrested earlier this year by the Spanish National Police after the U.S. Marshals Service provided a tip that the fugitive was living in Alicante under the alias, Jorge Gonzalez-Flores.

Alonso made his first appearance in Miami federal court on Friday.

In November 1999, Alonso, a Cuban immigrant, pleaded guilty to charges of smuggling multiple kilos of cocaine and to possessing a gun. He was sentenced to more than nine years in prison. But he was also granted a $125,000 bond and allowed to surrender to prison authorities in early 2000. Alonso didn't show up.

In 2000, U.S. District Judge Norman Roettger issued an arrest warrant for his bond violation Prosecutors charged him anew with failing to surrender and contempt of court.

Meanwhile, deputy marshals learned that Alonso had fled to Mexico and obtained a Mexican passport under the Gonzalez-Flores alias, according to U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Barry Golden. Then he vanished.

It wasn't until 2014 that deputy marshals learned that Alonso was still using the alias and operating a bar in Alicante. The Spanish National Police arrested him in January.

The U.S. attorney's office in Miami sought his extradition from Spain, which granted the request. A team of deputy marshals brought Alonso back to Miami late Thursday.