Ex-Herald Cartoonist Who Cracked Beaten and Busted Again

Toon man behind '06 toy gun standoff arrested after fight with ex's boyfriend

By Brian Hamacher
|  Friday, Oct 22, 2010  |  Updated 3:21 PM EDT
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Ex-Herald Cartoonist Who Cracked Beaten and Busted Again

Miami-Dade Corrections

Jose Varela

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The former El Nuevo Herald cartoonist who was arrested after an infamous toy gun standoff with police inside the Herald offices in 2006 was busted once again Thursday for battery and resisting arrest.

Jose Varela, 54, was left looking a little worse for wear when he was booked into a Miami-Dade jail Thursday morning after a scuffle with his ex-wife's new boyfriend and police.

According to a police report, officers responded to a reported fight between Varela and his ex-wife's new beau, a trained fighter, at a home on the 14000 block of Southwest 181st Terrace late Wednesday.

When police arrived they saw Varela throwing punches at the air outside the home. When police told Varela to get on the ground, he refused.

"No, I'm not getting on the ground, I'm not getting on the f---ing ground," Varela told the officer, according to the report.

When Varela moved towards the officer, the cop was able to wrestle him to the ground, but Varela kept trying to knock the officer down. Backup arrived and Varela was arrested.

Varela's ex's boyfriend told officers that the notorious cartoonist confronted him and started throwing punches, though it looked like Varela took the brunt of the fight.

Varela's booking photos make him look a bit like a punching bag, sporting two black eyes -- one nearly swollen shut -- as well as bruises, scrapes, a bloodied nose and a torn shirt.

Varela told police his injuries happened from a fall. He was taken to Jackson South Hospital for treatment but by Friday morning was being held on $7,500 bond, according to Miami-Dade's corrections website.

A native of Cuba who came to Miami during the Mariel boat lift, Varela had spent 13 years as a cartoonist with El Nuevo Herald before his Nov. 24, 2006 crackup at the Herald's Miami offices.

Faced with financial difficulties and an apparently crumbling marriage, Varela, dressed in an FBI shirt and carrying a realistic-looking toy machine gun, marched into the office of El Nuevo Herald Executive Editor Humberto Castelló, where he holed up for over three hours before police talked him into surrendering.

Charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, Varela received two-years' probation after working out a plea deal.

Thursday's bust wasn't the first time Varela had been arrested for resisting cops. He was also booked on resisting arrest without violence charges by Miami-Dade police in 1991.

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