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Virgilio (Villo) R. Gonzalez (born May 18, 1926)[1] is a Cuba-born political activist, locksmith, and one of the five men arrested at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972. The break-in led to the Watergate scandal and the eventual resignation of United States President Richard Nixon two years later.

Virgilio R. Gonzalez
Born (1926-05-18) May 18, 1926 (age 93)
ResidenceMiami, Florida, U.S.
Known forParticipation in the Watergate Scandal


Life before activismEdit

Gonzalez was originally from Cuba.[2][3] He was reported to have been a house painter and barber, and to have fled Cuba after Fidel Castro took over the country in 1959.[3] Gonzales was a personal driver for Felipe Vidal Santiago.[4]

Anti-government workEdit

After arriving in Miami Gonzalez became involved with the anti-Castro movement in the United States[citation needed] and continued to work as a locksmith. His skills were greatly desired so he was recruited by an organization that did dirty work for the Nixon White House. This organization was run by E. Howard Hunt, referenced by his old CIA code name "Eduardo".[5] Eduardo was well known among the group of burglars due to his involvement in the Bay of Pigs Invasion according to Eugino Martinez.[6]

Watergate involvementEdit

Due to his skills as a locksmith and his connection to Eugenio Martínez, Virgilio was recruited to the crew of Watergate burglars. The first attempt at the break-in was at 12 o'clock at night. This failed when Virgilio did not have the right tools to get into the Democratic party office.[6] Because of this, Eduardo had Virgilio go back to his shop in Miami to gather the correct tools for the door. They returned and attempted the break-in once again. This time Virgilio was successful in picking the locks and they were able to place bugs in three of the phones in the headquarters.

The group was required to break in once again, to take 1,440 photos of Democratic Party papers, and to retrieve the bugs planted before. Gonzalez had no problems with the lock this time having cracked it before. The group noticed that one of the three bug tapes placed before had gone missing. The group instead of taking the warning decided to continue taking pictures of the documents. Shortly afterward the group were discovered and arrested. He pleaded guilty and spent a 13-month stint in prison for his crimes.[7]


After serving his sentence in prison for the burglary, Vigilio reportedly dislikes talking to reporters about the Watergate scandal. He now lives in Miami with his second wife. Gonzales left the lock picking business and now runs a mechanic shop, and when asked if he was happy, responded "Of course, I am living again".[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 20.6 U.S. v. Liddy Docket, 1, 2, 21, 25 (Report).
  2. ^ Lewis, Alfred E. (June 18, 1972). "5 Held in Plot to Bug Democrats' Office Here". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. p. A01. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Rugaber, Walter (June 26, 1972). "Taped Locks Add to Raid Puzzle". The Milwaukee Journal. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. New York Times Service. p. 10. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  4. ^ "Virgilio (Villo) Gonzalez". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  5. ^ "Virgilio Gonzalez". Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  6. ^ a b "Mission Impossible: Eugenio Martinez, Watergate Burglar". Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  7. ^ "Burglary At The Watergate". Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  8. ^ Fama, Julian. "Como Se Dice Watergate? Burglar Wants to Forget". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2017-05-24.