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For Immediate Release

Contact:
June 25, 2013 Eastern District of Virginia (703) 837-5558
Alabama Fugitive Arrested in Virginia After Five Years on the Run

Newport News, VA – U.S. Marshal Bobby Mathieson announces the capture of Fernando Harris. This fugitive was wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Huntsville, AL, for his suspected participation in a drug conspiracy involving the possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. After five years of investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) was able to locate and apprehend 45-year-old Harris.

In June 2008, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (N/AL) issued warrants for 33 suspects alleged to have taken part in a major 138-count indictment which stretched through Northern Alabama, Texas, California, and Mexico. The suspects were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack) and 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. Within two weeks of the warrants being issued, the DEA requested the assistance of the USMS N/AL – Huntsville office. All, but two, of the more than 30 suspects were captured within two months of the warrants being issued due to the collaborative effort between the DEA and U.S. Marshals. One of the two fugitives, Harris, is alleged to have immediately gone into hiding to evade law enforcement apprehension.

Harris was previously convicted of possession of cocaine in 1999. After serving a lengthy prison sentence following that conviction, Harris was placed on supervised release. In December 2008, N/AL issued a second arrest warrant for violating his conditions of supervised release.

Approximately a week and a half ago, investigators with the USMS Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force (GCRFTF) in N/AL developed information which led them to believe that Harris was residing within the Eastern District of Virginia (E/VA). GCRFTF investigators quickly requested the assistance of deputy U.S. marshals in the E/VA – Norfolk/Newport News office. E/VA deputies worked diligently to
develop additional information which led law enforcement, including the Newport News and Hampton Police Departments, to respond to a Hampton, VA residence yesterday.

At approximately 3:00 p.m. yesterday, investigators positively identified a male who exited the Hampton residence as Harris. The suspect then entered a vehicle and drove away from the residence. Law enforcement officers followed Harris for approximately a ¼ mile before the fugitive pulled the vehicle over. The suspect exited and began looking in the trunk of the vehicle. While he was distracted, law enforcement moved in. Harris was arrested without incident after five years on the run.

The U.S. Marshals Service arrested more than 36,300 federal fugitives and 86,700 state and local fugitives in fiscal year 2012. Our investigative network and capabilities allow for the unique ability to track and apprehend any fugitive who attempts to evade police capture, anywhere in the country.

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

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