Feds looking for fugitive airline mechanic wanted for 20 years

The feds are looking for a fugitive airline mechanic who may have played a role in the fatal crash of a ValuJet Airlines passenger plane in the Florida Everglades in 1996.

Mauro Ociel Valenzuela-Reyes has been on the lam for two decades, the FBI said in a news release.

Reyes worked for the airline’s maintenance contractor, SabreTech, and was facing federal criminal charges in 1999. Crash investigators determined he had a role in mishandling and packaging oxygen generators that were placed in the DC-9’s cargo hold.

The generators were missing their required safety caps and ignited in the cargo area, resulting in a crash that killed all 110 passengers and crew members aboard.

“He fled before trial,” FBI Miami Special Agent Jacqueline Fruge, who has been the primary agent on the case since it began, said in a news release.

Hoping to generate new leads, the FBI office in Miami recently announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to Valenzuela-Reyes’s capture. A new wanted poster shows photos of the fugitive as he appeared in 1996 and how he might appear today.

“We want closure,” Fruge added.

ValuJet operated until 1997 when it merged with AirTran Airways. Southwest Airlines purchased AirTran in 2011.

Palazzo Vecchio
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Sightseers’ Delight started publishing in June 2016. The site, published by The DeFeo Groupe, collects and curates content about places where historical events large and small happened. The site builds off the legacy of The Travel Trolley, which launched in June 2009. The site aimed to be a virtual version of the trolley tours offered in so many cities.