FBI Boston
Kristen Setera
(617) 223-6110
February 13, 2015

Fugitive Wander Junior Vargas Canela, aka Wallis Torres, Arrested in Switzerland

Wander Junior Vargas Canela, aka Wallis Torres, an inmate who escaped the Massachusetts Department of Correction and fled to Switzerland, has been turned over to United States authorities following his arrest in Switzerland.

Special agents from the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force escorted Canela from Switzerland to Logan International Airport on a flight that is scheduled to arrive Friday evening. The FBI worked with the Massachusetts Department of Correction’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit (FAU) to locate Canela and bring him back to Massachusetts.

An arrest warrant had been issued for Canela, under his assumed identity of Wallis Torres, out of West Roxbury District Court on September 17, 2008, the day after he escaped from the Boston Pre-Release Correctional Center. He was serving a four- to seven-year sentence for possession of a Class B substance with intent to distribute.

Investigators developed information which indicated Canela had fled the United States and was traveling within Europe, specifically in the areas of Spain and Switzerland. They also learned that Canela was using an assumed name, Wallis Torres, while in Massachusetts.

On December 13, 2013, a federal arrest warrant was issued out of the United States District Court in Massachusetts for Canela on a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution which holds a maximum imprisonment of five years.

FBI Boston and members of FAU developed several leads in Spain, the Dominican Republic, and Switzerland relative to the activities of Canela. With the assistance of the FBI’s legal attaché offices in these respective countries, it was determined that he was residing in Switzerland.

On April 15, 2014, Canela was arrested by the Canton Aargau Police (Switzerland) for possession of cocaine and was held in Swiss custody on a provisional arrest warrant generated by FBI Boston/FAU seeking extradition back to Massachusetts.

Upon arrival, Canela will return to the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Correction where he will serve the remainder of his outstanding sentence; four years and four months. He will also face additional charges relating to his escape and unlawful flight.

“This is a great example of multiple government agencies and nations working together to bring fugitives like Canela back to the United States to face justice,” said Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Division. “I want to thank the government of Switzerland for its excellent cooperation, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Correction’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Massachusetts State Police, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office and the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.”

Massachusetts Department of Correction Commissioner Carol Higgins O’Brien added, “We extremely pleased with the law enforcement and interagency partnerships that allowed this fugitive to be returned to Massachusetts to serve out the remainder of his sentence.”

Canela, aka Torres, 29, had been a fugitive for six years and was listed on the Mass Most Wanted website