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Holyoke city councilor arrested on fugitive from justice charge

A Holyoke city councilor and Air National Guard member is under arrest charged with being a fugitive from justice.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 4:01 PM EDT|Updated: May. 17, 2022 at 6:50 PM EDT
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HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A Holyoke city councilor and Air National Guard member is under arrest and charged with being a fugitive from justice for forging paperwork after being charged with possession of child pornography in Rhode Island.

Ward 2 City Councilor Wilmer Puello-Mota was arrested on May 11 at Barnes Air National Guard Base.

According to court documents obtained by Western Mass News, he was arrested and charged as being a fugitive of justice. He is now being held at the Hampden County House of Corrections in Ludlow.

Puello-Mota is currently serving his first term as a Holyoke city councilor. He ran unopposed in Ward 2 and was elected in November 2021.

Court documents from Warwick District Court in Rhode Island reveal he was charged in September 2020 with knowingly possessing images and videos of a 17-year-old on his computer.

Western Mass News took a closer look at the court documents and we found that in May 2020, officers responded to a hotel about a stolen firearm. The 17-year-old told officers that Puello-Mota owned the gun. She went on to call the city councilor her “sugar daddy” and police learned that Puello-Mota met the juvenile on a website called seekingarrangement.com, initially thinking she was 22.

Later, it was revealed that the city councilor possessed explicit photos and videos on his cell phone, which investigators said he paid the 17-year-old for after being made aware that she was under the age of 18.

Other court documents detail a new charge of forgery and counterfeiting. Puello-Mota is accused of falsifying documentation from a military official to allow him into a court diversion program and remain in active service with the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

The fugitive charge comes as Rhode Island officials want him back in their state.

We reached out to Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia’s office, who provided the following statement:

“We are aware of the allegations. And we have faith in the justice system. I suggest we let the authorities do their jobs and that we refrain from judgment.”

Puello-Mota is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on May 25 in Westfield.