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Crime & Courts  

Published: Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Bylined to: Alicia Caldwell

Venezuelan male model and computer hacker arrested at Miami airport

Denver Post staffer Alicia Caldwell writes: A self-described Venezuelan male model and member of the notorious computer hacker group World of Hell was arrested last weekend and accused of breaking into US Air Force computer servers in Denver, authorities said.

Rafael Nunez-Aponte (25) bragged about bringing down a web-based server network in 2001 that provided training for thousands of Air Force personnel, according to a federal arrest warrant unsealed Tuesday.

Investigators said the telecom-security expert replaced the Air Force's webpage with his own and left the World of Hell website address.

Authorities arrested Nunez-Aponte on Saturday at an airport in Miami, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the US attorney's office in Denver.

  • Dorschner declined to reveal how authorities knew that Nunez-Aponte ... who works for a Venezuelan telecommunications company ... would be at the airport.

The 24-page warrant details a litany of illicit activity that group members are said to have engaged in. They collected stolen credit-card numbers, bragged about defacing webpages and hoarded pornographic images, including child pornography, authorities said.  "It's a nefarious world," Dorschner said.

The group, which took pride in proving that no site was too secure to be hacked, broke into more than 450 webpages, according to arrest paperwork filed at US District Court in Denver.

Nunez-Aponte, who used the computer name "RaFa," is said to have hacked websites belonging to drugmaker Pfizer and Rolex, the watch company, as well as other military sites.  He said he had been majoring in computer science at a school in Caracas until moving to Paris to pursue a career in the fashion industry, according to the arrest warrant.

Investigators have snared other members in Virginia and Tennessee.

  • Last year, Thomas DeVoss (21), was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for breaking into hundreds of sites belonging to the military and other federal agencies, Dorschner said.

And in 2002, a minor identified only as Cowhead2000 pleaded guilty in juvenile court to 133 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and 176 counts of identity theft. He was sentenced to a youth detention center for an unspecified period.

Arrest made in breach of military website

Sunken boat at Punto Fijo, Paraguana  Photography: Santiago Padilla

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