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Five Charged With 2012 Murder Of Legendary Boxer Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho

Hector Camacho's career was overshadowed by his years-long struggles with substance abuse and several arrests for violent crimes. 

By Jax Miller
Hector Camacho G

Five people have been arrested for the murder of legendary boxer Héctor “Macho” Camacho.

The world champion boxer, whose flamboyant theatrics in the ring and violent past made him the subject of several reality TV shows and documentaries, was shot to death in 2012 in his native Puerto Rico. Now, five men are charged with murdering Camacho, 59, and his friend Adrian Mojica Moreno, 49, following a police investigation called “Operation Knockout,” according to the Associated Press.

Three of the five suspects were extradited from Florida, where they were serving sentences for unrelated federal crimes, the AP reported. Another suspect was already in a Puerto Rican prison for unrelated crimes. The final suspect was apprehended when local authorities surrounded his home and knocked on his window with guns drawn in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, where Camacho was killed nearly 20 years ago. The fifth suspect came out wearing only a towel when authorities placed him under arrest.

According to the San Juan Daily Star, the suspects were identified in court as Joshua Méndez Romero, Jesús Naranjo Adorno, Luis Ayala García, Juan R. Figueroa Rivera, and Wilfredo Rodríguez Rodríguez.

Prosector Janet Parra, who heads the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Drugs Division, charged all five suspects with conspiracy and first-degree murder. Rodríguez Rodríguez, Ayala García, and Méndez Romero face additional firearm charges and one count of money laundering.

Authorities said two additional suspects were killed in separate events in 2013 and 2015, according to the AP.

“There is justice for my son,” Camacho’s mother, María Matías, exclaimed when prosecutors announced the charges on Wednesday.

Camacho was shot once in the face while sitting with Moreno in a Ford Mustang in front of the Azuquita bar, per the AP. He was pronounced clinically brain dead and lived for several more days before finally being taken off life support.

Moreno died at the scene from a single gunshot wound. Authorities found 10 small bags of cocaine on his person; another open bag of cocaine was found in the car.

A Showtime documentary, “Macho: The Hector Camacho Story,” largely focused on Camacho’s cocaine addiction.

However, Parra declined to reveal the motive behind the tragic murder on Wednesday.

“We didn’t remain with our arms crossed,” said Parra.

According to the San Juan-based outlet, Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández expressed the department’s determination to solve this case.

“Impunity has no place in the new Department of Justice,” he said. “If you committed a crime, rest assured that we are coming for you.”

Camacho's rise to stardom began in the late 1970s in New York City's Spanish Harlem, where he immigrated as a child. Camacho went on to become one of the greatest boxers in the industry, going up against the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De la Hoya, and others. His showmanship in the ring drew fanfare, especially when wearing outfits encrusted with rhinestones and tassels and with feather boas draped over his muscular frame.

But by the late 1980s, his awe-inspiring talent became overshadowed by his years-long struggles with substance abuse and violence. As previously reported, Camacho was arrested in Florida in 1988 for pulling a gun on a juvenile, as well as cocaine charges. That same year, he was pulled over for having sex while driving in Florida.

In 1992, he was arrested again for the battery of a police officer, marijuana possession, and disorderly intoxication. He was arrested for domestic violence and aggravated assault against his pregnant wife three years later.

In 2004, Camacho caused nearly $13,000 in damage when he burglarized a Gulfport, Mississippi, computer store and fell through the ceiling. He ran off with seven laptops and $1,000 cash but was later apprehended in a casino hotel room in Biloxi. There, authorities found 10 ecstasy pills. For the 2004 crimes, he served a reduced sentence of one year behind bars.

One year before his death, Camacho was arrested for allegedly assaulting one of his children. He moved back to Puerto Rico shortly after, where he became involved in a shootout during a carjacking the same year he was murdered.

Camacho was posthumously inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, in 2016, according to the Daily Star.

His mother praised prosecutors on Wednesday for seeing that the suspects were charged with her son’s long-unsolved murder.

“They granted me justice, and that is the most I can ask for,” said Matías. I waited 10 years. I went from police station to police station looking for justice for my son. I didn’t stop. I came from New York, I paid for the [airline ticket], I was in the police stations for two and three months looking for justice for my son, and finally, God gave me justice. I thank everyone because Macho loved everyone and because he was a good son.”

Rodríguez Rodríguez, Ayala García, and Méndez Romero, are being held on $800,000 bond, according to the AP. Naranjo Adorno is being held on $300,000 while Figueroa Rivera is being help on $1,000,000.

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