Published:Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:13 PM EDT
BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - One of Interpol’s 100 Most Wanted and a suspected MS-13 gang member was arrested in Beaufort County, according to police.
The Bluffton Police Department’s month-long investigation concluded with the arrest of Eric Salvador Hernandez Bonilla, 23, in Lady’s Island on Thursday.
Bonilla’s arrest warrant listed six murder charges and one terrorist threat charge for his MS-13 gang-related activities in El Salvador.
The Bluffton Police Department, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshal Service and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) worked together on this “Red Notice.” Interpol, an international law enforcement organization, issues “Red Notices” for fugitives who are wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence. These notices are issued to alert and request law enforcement agencies worldwide to locate and arrest a suspect.
The Bluffton police chief said this whole situation is unique. From the way the investigation started, to the location, and the extreme nature of the suspect’s rap sheet.
Chief Stephanie Price says she has never seen anything like it.
“The subject was wanted for six murders and one terroristic threat. As you know Bluffton is a very safe community, we bill ourselves as such and we are a safe community. This person was basically hiding in plain sight,” Chief Price said.
Chief Price says solving a case with such a high-profile suspect, is a point of pride.
“It is a very large capture, and we are glad to have him out of our community,” she said.
For perspective on how often something like this happens.
“Well, I’ve been in law enforcement for a couple decades, I guess I can say at this point, and I can tell you this right now - I have never arrested an Interpol top 100 person,” Chief Price said.
She says it all started with help from the community.
“Our officers received a tip from an anonymous citizen who said that there may be someone that had a dangerous past living in our community, and he actually said to us that it would be a Interpol top 100 wanted person,” Chief Price said.
Chief Price was very grateful for that cooperation.
“It was citizens’ tips that led us to this. The police need your help and I’m so glad that our community has that relationship that the police and the citizens have a great working relationship that they felt comfortable enough to come up to us... that’s what community policing’s all about,” she said.
Chief Price said that Bonilla had been working construction in Bluffton.
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