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For Immediate Release

Contact:
August 05, 2010 Pete Elliott, U.S. Marshal
Northern District of Ohio (216) 276-5855
U.S. Marshals Task Force Ends Fugitive's 19 Year Flight from Justice

NOVFTF LogoCleveland, OH – Yesterday turned out to be the day that luck ran out for long time fugitive Leslie “Lucky” Johnson, wanted on a federal arrest warrant for failure to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons stemming from his 1991 federal drug case conviction. Johnson, age 52, was apprehended near Pittsburgh, PA by the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force after 19 long years on the run.

In 1991, Johnson left the greater Cleveland area and his life of looking over his shoulder began. Over the years, Johnson was tracked by the U.S. Marshals from Cleveland to Chicago, IL to Florida to Atlanta, GA to Baltimore, MD and finally ending up in 1997 in the greater Pittsburgh area. Recently Deputy U.S. Marshals and Task Force Officers were able to get one step closer to Johnson by identifying where he was residing at a residence on the 1500 block of Bertner Road in Natrona Heights, PA but he again vacated the residence before they could catch up with him.

On Monday, Deputy U.S. Marshals and Task Force Officers from the Cleveland office traveled to the Natrona Heights area, which is located just northeast of Pittsburgh, PA, and continued to work the case with the Task Force in Pittsburgh. Investigators conducted surveillance for 3 days in the Natrona Heights and New Kensington area and gained information that Johnson was in the city of Tarentum, PA. The information that the investigators obtained paid off. Yesterday, Deputy Marshals and Task Force Officers set up surveillance in an Applebee’s restaurant in Tarentum. Shortly after 1:00 p.m., they observed Johnson and an unknown female enter the restaurant. The investigators kept a close eye on Johnson while he enjoyed his last meal on the run and they then safely arrested Johnson, without incident, after exiting the restaurant. Johnson admitted his identity and stated to investigators that he was relieved that his life on the run was over.

In 1991, Johnson was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine in Cleveland and was sentenced to 60 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge John Manos. Johnson will have an identity hearing in federal court in the Western District of Pennsylvania and eventually be transported to the Northern District of Ohio to face the additional charges of failure to surrender and will also begin his long delayed 60 month sentence of incarceration.

David Sierleja, Chief of the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office stated, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is extremely pleased and satisfied with the outstanding work of the United States Marshals Service tracking this individual down and bringing him to justice.”

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of any known fugitive is encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at: 1-866-4-WANTED. Callers may remain anonymous.

The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force – Cleveland Division is composed of the following federal, state and local agencies: Bratenahl Police Department, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Chagrin Falls Police Department, Cleveland Police Department, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Police Department, Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General, Euclid Police Department, Lakewood Police Department, Linndale Village Police Department, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Secret Service and the Westlake Police Department.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.