Rivera had been on the run since 1987 when he failed to appear for sentencing in a New York City courtroom, according to court records. In his absence, he was sentenced to two years in prison. He was 22 at the time of his conviction for drug trafficking.
The defendant was brought into court in leg irons by a U.S. Marshal while his wife, pastor, and friends looked on. Rivera was dressed in a tan prison outfit and moved slowly with the help of a cane.
Sullivan told the court a routine Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check, which is required of all potential school employees in Massachusetts, revealed a fingerprint match and led federal police to Lynnfield.
"We knew he would be there for his second interview," he said. "I knew it was him because fingerprints don't lie."
Immediately following his arrest, Rivera refused to answer any questions about his multiple identities, Sullivan testified.
"He had between five and seven aliases and the name on his license had the name Eulogio Portes," he said.
Suspects are not required to talk with police after an arrest.
But under cross examination by Rivera's attorney, public defender Jane Peachy, Sullivan testified the defendant later admitted to multiple aliases.
"But he never told us his true identity," Sullivan said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Dolan argued Rivera should be held without bail. Given the fact that he was a fugitive for more than 30 years, and that he lied on his passport, was reason enough to hold him until sentencing, he said.
He asked Sullivan if police noticed anything about Rivera's health when they arrested him.
"He was not using a cane and walked fine," he said.
But Peachy said her client has serious medical issues including diabetes, high blood pressure, and fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by muscle pain. He should be set free until sentencing, she argued.
"He is not the same person who appeared in court years ago," she said. "He had deep ties to Lynnfield, has turned his life around, and isn't going anywhere."
She said he and his wife have a 15-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old autistic son.
"His mother stays at home with him, and Mr. Rivera is the only one who drives," Peachy said. "He is very close to his son and wouldn't jeopardize that by fleeing … he has not contact with law enforcement in 32 years."
Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal took the matter under advisement and will issue a ruling next week.
Rivera's fate has yet to be decided. He could be sent back to a New York court or the case could be adjudicated in Boston.
Jane Tremblay, Lynnfield's school superintendent, confirmed Rivera was an applicant but declined further comment.