Methuen Police Arrest Fugitive After 16 Years on the Run Using Tip From Smartphone App

Authorities arrested Eric Rivera-Velez Friday after 16 years on the run. An anonymous tip from a smartphone app lead to his capture. (Rivera-Velez photo courtesy of Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office.)

Methuen Police arrested a city man who was a wanted fugitive for the past 16 years thanks to a tip that came in from their crowdsourcing smartphone app.

Mayor James P. Jajuga and Police Chief Joseph Solomon said Eric Rivera-Velez was arrested on Friday after detectives pursued a lead from the tip411 app regarding potential narcotics distribution out of a Methuen home.

Authorities nabbed Rivera-Velez, 39, during a surveillance operation in the area of Brook Street. Rivera-Velez happened to be walking on Brook Street and was recognized by police through their investigation into the anonymous tip. Once confirming his identity, police found Rivera-Velez to have numerous warrants for narcotics offenses in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

During the booking process, police confirmed Rivera-Velez used multiple aliases and altered fingerprints. He had been listed on the Rockingham County’s Most Wanted list since 2002.

“A case closed for Rockingham County and a great arrest by detectives. This arrest goes to show the power of communication with the police, anonymous or otherwise,” Solomon said.

Rivera-Velez was booked on warrants out of Lawrence District court that included six cocaine trafficking charges and two drug violations near a school or park. He also had two fugitive from justice warrants on file.