PALENVILLE, N.Y. – A fugitive from Ecuador suspected in the death of a prominent politician and two other men was arrested Saturday following a routine traffic stop, authorities said.
Christian Steven Ponce, 36, of Quito, Ecuador, was stopped Saturday afternoon in the hamlet of Palenville in upstate New York for not wearing a seat belt, according to the Greene County Sheriff's Department.
A license and warrant check showed that Ponce was wanted in Ecuador for triple homicide in 1999, deputies said. He was arraigned in Catskill Town Court and jailed without bail, awaiting extradition.
Ponce and two associates were suspected of fatally shooting former Ecuadorian presidential candidate Jaime Hurtado on Feb. 17, 1999, in Quito, as well as Pablo Vicente Tapia — Hurtado's nephew — and their bodyguard, Wellington Borja Nazareno.
They were arrested two days after the shootings and Ponce later fled Ecuador.