Fla. fugitive caught after 26 years on lam

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 2:50 pm

MIAMI (AP) - A banker and attorney on the run for 26 years after his conviction in a major South Florida marijuana smuggling case has been captured in Mexico.

The U.S. Marshals Service reported Thursday that 61-year-old Manuel Lopez-Castro was arrested this week in Cancun, Mexico, and is back in Miami to face justice. Lopez-Castro fled in 1986 rather than show up at a Florida prison to begin serving a 27-year sentence for marijuana smuggling and other convictions.

Authorities say Lopez-Castro was captured after officers including Mexican Federal Police did a staged traffic stop. It's believed he lived in Spain, Costa Rica, Argentina, Venezuela and Panama before settling in Mexico.

Lopez-Castro was part of a pot smuggling ring responsible for importing some 600,000 pounds of marijuana into the U.S. from 1977 to 1984.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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