Law enforcement can be very aggressive in their pursuit of individuals suspected of federal drug crimes. This aggressiveness can continue long after an alleged crime occurred. This can be seen in the recent arrest of a 62-year-old Florida man who had allegedly been on the run ever since he was accused of crimes related to drug trafficking over 30 years ago.
The man was accused of being part of the “Black Tuna Gang” in the 1970’s. This gang was allegedly involved in the importation of significant amounts of marijuana and cocaine. Authorities claimed that the man assisted the gang in this drug smuggling by buying boats and then modifying them to be used to carry illegal drugs.
The man was arrested in May of 1979 and charged with racketeering in connection to this alleged drug smuggling. His trial began later that year, but he disappeared in the middle of it. He was convicted in absentia of seven different criminal counts.
Police believe that the man fled the county. Allegedly he spent most of the past 31 years in Germany and Chile. However, last year he returned to Florida. Police believe that he may have done this because he thought that the police had given up on pursuing him.
It turns out that this was not the case. On Thursday, the man was arrested by federal authorities at his home in a retirement community near West Palm Beach, Florida.
This case demonstrates the aggressiveness of the federal government’s enforcement of drug-related crimes. Thus, fleeing and hoping that the government forgets about you is not a sound strategy for dealing with a drug charge. If a person is accused of a drug crime, they should instead consider seeking representation from a qualified criminal defense attorney. Developing a strong defense is one of the best ways a person can fight a drug charge.
Source: The Orlando Sentinel, “Fugitive, 62, tracked down in Century Village after 31 years on the run,” Wayne K. Roustan, 27 Jan 2011