On Wednesday, April 10th, Moises Tejada, a fugitive on New York state’s most wanted list, was arrested by Italian police in St. Peter’s Square during a general audience held by Pope Francis.

At the time of his arrest, Tejada, 54, was found in possession of three knives, each about 8 inches long, including one with a double blade. The arrest occurred in a busy area populated with tourists and pilgrims.

The New York Department of Corrections has classified Tejada as “violent.” Italian authorities were alerted to his presence, leading to his capture. He was “a violent man,” a  police spokesperson confirmed.

Upon his detention, Tejada disclosed that he had traveled to Rome from Moldova after spending time in Ukraine since 2022, where he claimed to have been involved in the Ukraine-Russia war. This followed his parole violation in New York, where he had been released from Sullivan Correctional Facility in March 2022.

Tejada now faces charges in Italy for illegal weapon possession and resisting arrest. Italian police are currently holding him in custody while they await a response from U.S. authorities regarding extradition. The Office of Special Investigations in New York is coordinating with the U.S. Marshals Service to manage the extradition process.

Photo credit: Stefano Tammaro / Shutterstock.com
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