This is part of an on-going FOX News series on America's most wanted criminals.
Raymond Abbott, an athletic former U.S. Army infantry soldier, liked to introduce himself as "RoboCop," after the science-fiction law enforcer who literally gets shot to pieces but remains unstoppable.
Abbott put that name to the test when he tried a daring escape from a maximum security prison in Puerto Rico. It was a performance every bit as daredevil as any Hollywood superstar’s.
In February 1992, the 31-year-old Abbott was arrested for smuggling weapons after an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Abbott pleaded guilty and was sent to a maximum security penitentiary in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, where he awaited sentencing.
But investigators say Abbott had no intentions of staying in jail for long. They say he patiently planned an escape and worked long and hard to get physically fit, sometimes doing as many as 1,000 pushups a day in his cell.
“He was in excellent physical condition,” said Roberto Vizcarrondo, senior criminal investigator at the U.S. Marshals.
When the time came for his escape, Abbott dashed past a guard who had entered his cell for prisoner count and bolted out the door. By the time he made it to the prison’s interior patio, the guards were hot on his trail.
In a scene straight out of an action movie, bullets whizzed by as Abbott, who had swaddled himself in a blanket and mattress foam for protection, sprinted across the patio and jumped down on the barbed-wire enclosure outside.
The guards kept shooting at him, but Abbott escaped.
His daredevil flight landed Abbott on the U.S. Marshals’ Most Wanted List. He is now being hunted by officials for escaping the maximum security prison, smuggling guns and threatening a federal officer while in prison.
Those threats were directed at ATF agent Reinaldo Rodriguez, the man who arrested Abbott for smuggling weapons from Miami to gangs and drug cartels in Puerto Rico. The arrest didn’t sit well with Abbott, who felt that, as leader of a powerful gang, he had been humiliated. So he vowed, while he was in prison, to get Rodriguez killed.
“He wanted to show that he had people on the streets to take care of him,” Vizcarrondo explained.
But now that he was out of jail, Abbott decided to take matters into his own hands. A few days after his escape, Abbott’s grandmother claimed he had called her and vowed that he would kill Rodriguez before he ever returned to jail.
Rodriguez has now been transferred to the U.S. from Puerto Rico for his protection, law enforcement officials say.
Abbott wasn't always a hardened criminal. Born in Miami on April 7, 1961, he was considered a good student as a child. But while he was still young, his mother divorced his father and went to Puerto Rico. It is thought that at this time Abbott came into contact with gangs and stepped into the world of crime.
Marshals say that he is articulate, likes to work out and has an affinity for motorcycles and guns.
“He is extremely knowledgeable in weapons, well-versed in the use of high-powered firearms and interested in motorbikes,” said Vizcarrondo.
Abbott has other interests, too. “He was always surrounded with nice-looking females,” said Vizcarrondo.
In fact, it was his passion for women that gave rise to rumors that he had died from AIDS. But the rumors have been dispelled.
According to investigators, Abbott is thought to be alive and well and running an underworld weapons and prostitution smuggling ring.
Vizcarrondo said Abbott is believed to be living somewhere in the states bordering Mexico, where he does business with his extensive network of contacts in the illegal firearms markets south of the border.
Abbott has been on the lam for 16 years. He is considered extremely violent and dangerous, and there is a $25,000 reward for any information that can lead to his arrest.
“He can sometimes be friendly,” said Vizcarrondo. But, he cautioned, “He is always looking for trouble.”