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The Villages
Monday, March 27, 2023

One-legged man known as ‘Ponce de Leon’ arrested with gun

Mario Arteaga 1
Mario Arteaga

A one-legged man known by the alias “Ponce de Leon” was arrested with a gun after violating an injunction and getting into an altercation over a dog.

Mario Arteaga, 62, who lives in the Harbor Hills community in Lady Lake, was arrested Monday evening by Lake County sheriff’s deputies after violating an injunction obtained by his neighbor. Arteaga was taken into custody at Marion County Road and Saddle Ridge Lane in Weirsdale, not far from Harbor Hills.

Arteaga and a friend had been “antagonizing” a dog, 51-year-old John Michael Keenan, also of Harbor Hills, told deputies. Keenan asked Arteaga to leave the dog alone. Keenan alleged that Arteaga punched him. Keenan reached into Arteaga’s vehicle. Arteaga drove away, striking Keenan’s elbow with the side mirror of his vehicle. Keenan got into his vehicle and followed Arteaga. Keenan used his vehicle to block Arteaga’s vehicle. Keenan got out and Arteaga swerved at him, causing him to fall down. Keenan was arrested on charges of battery and aggravated assault.

Meanwhile, another Harbor Hills neighbor complained that Arteaga had violated an injunction and had been outside his home in violation of a court order. When a deputy attempted to take Arteaga into custody, “he threw himself to the ground,” to avoid being handcuffed, the report said. Arteaga refused to stand up. The report noted that that deputy was aware that Arteaga is missing a leg. The deputy also wrote in the report that he’d seen “Arteaga standing and hopping on his one leg while on scene.” A bag was found in Arteaga’s vehicle. The bag contained an unloaded Walther firearm and an unloaded magazine. A check revealed that Arteaga’s concealed weapon permit is currently suspended.

Arteaga was arrested on charges of unlicensed carry of a concealed firearm, resisting arrest and violation of an injunction. The native of Cuba requested medical attention and was transported by Lake EMS to a local hospital. Upon release, Arteaga was a booked at the Lake County Jail and released after posting $4,000 bond.

Arteaga had been free on bond following an Oct. 8 arrest after causing a disturbance at the Marriott TownePlace Suites at Spanish Springs in The Villages. At the time, officers noted that Arteaga is known by the alias “Ponce de Leon,” the famed Spanish explorer and first governor of Puerto Rico.

Arteaga had been arrested in a 2019 road rage incident. In that case, a series of competency evaluations have been ordered, with the last one ordered this past July.

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