Juan Tapia is an ex-Lautarista or former member of the Lautaro Popular and Rebel Forces (named after a young Mapuche leader of indigenous resistance). In March 1993, he was wounded in an ambush by the Carabineros Police Intelligence Directorate, while meeting with other comrades to plan a robbery. In the same action, Norma Vergara Cáceres was killed by agents of DIPOLCAR. In 1997, he managed to get out on bail in order to resume his life.
In October 2010, he was detained in Copiapó, where his family lives, and was notified that he must serve a 15-year sentence. During the 2006 trial, he was absent because he was never notified-- it was carried out irregularly, without having the right to defense or to know the case file. He is currently serving his sentence in the former penitentiary, more than 800 kilometers from where his family lives, so they must travel almost 15 hours to visit him.