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Lewis Fled Before Trial in 1990 and Was a Fugitive for 13 Years

Sidney Marvin LEWISMarshals Service Director Ben Reyna announced the arrest of U.S. Marshals "15 Most Wanted" fugitive Sidney Marvin LEWIS. The fugitive was apprehended late Thursday by Israeli National Police at a dive shop he operated in Eilat, a resort town on the Red Sea in southern Israel, after a coordinated effort involving deputy marshals in the District of Oregon and agents with State Department's Diplomatic Security Service. Fingerprint checks today confirmed his true identity.

"Sidney Lewis eluded justice for 13 years, but his life as a fugitive is over," said Director Reyna, "because of the determination of Deputy U.S. Marshals and their law enforcement colleagues. This is a major victory for law enforcement."

Lewis had been named in a three-count indictment in October 1989 on charges of conspiracy to import with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana (hashish). According to the court papers, Lewis allegedly purchased and registered the sea-going vessel Lady Brigid and used it to import a shipment of hashish, estimated at 25 tons. The indictment alleges that he and his co-conspirators leased a docking facility on the Columbia River, near Columbia City, Ore., to off-load the hashish, then removed the illegal narcotics to various locations in the region.

Deputy marshals recently developed new information that Lewis may be living in Israel. They worked with State Department diplomatic security agents stationed in the country to be on the lookout for the fugitive. Once located, the Israeli Ministry of Justice issued a provisional arrest warrant and Lewis was arrested by police in the country.
"The arrest of this high-profile U.S. fugitive clearly demonstrates the great successes that can be achieved through global law enforcement cooperation," said Ambassador Francis X. Taylor, Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security at the State Department.

Lewis was originally arrested near Columbia City in September 1989 after U.S. Customs Service and Drug Enforcement Administration agents, along with Oregon State Police, seized the large shipment of hashish; he was being detained in Portland, Ore. He was granted a holiday furlough to his home in Massachusetts in November 1989. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the furlough release and a new detention hearing was sent for January 1990. Lewis failed to appear at the hearing and remained a fugitive until his capture last week. Lewis being held in Israel pending removal proceedings.

The U.S. Marshals Service is the nation's oldest federal law enforcement agency. Annually, U.S. Marshals arrest more than 50 percent of all federal fugitives and serve more federal warrants than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. Last year, U.S. Marshals cleared 36,304 federal fugitive warrants and cleared an additional 32,759 state and local fugitive warrants through USMS co-operative task forces. For more information on this and other major cases, go to