Winnipeg fugitive arrested in Florida after 30 years on the run
A Canadian fugitive who has been on the run for 30 years has been arrested in Florida.
U.S. authorities said they apprehended 71-year-old Jackson "Whitey" MacDonald at a home in Homosassa, Florida on Tuesday.
Authorities say MacDonald escaped from federal custody in 1980 as he awaited extradition from Miami on a Canadian warrant for importing and trafficking in marijuana.
The investigation into MacDonald is the same investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of former Manitoba MLA Bob "Junior" Wilson.
According to a former partner of Wilson, MacDonald was a yacht broker in Florida.
In 1980, MacDonald was charged with the importation and trafficking in up to 500 pounds of marijuana.
He was called "Whitey" because of his long, white-blonde hair, the man said.
He was also originally from Winnipeg and used to sell used goods at a store at St. Annes and St. Marys roads in Winnipeg. He was a police officer in Manitoba, the man said.
According to the former partner, MacDonald escaped in 1980 when he mysteriously disappeared from prison in Flordia.
"Somehow he disappeared going for a shower," the person said.
In fact, the U.S. Marshal Office said he allegedly faked a heart attack and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
"On June 16, 1980, after less than 24 hours in the hospital, MacDonald convinced a private security officer to unshackle his legs so he could take a shower," the U.S. Marshal Office said in a press release. "The security officer walked to the nurse's station, and when he returned, MacDonald was gone."
U.S. Marshals said Jackson and his wife had been living under assumed names in Pennsylvania before returning to Florida last year.
MacDonald was taken to Marion County Jail and was scheduled make an appearance on escape charges Wednesday in federal court in Orlando.
Canadian officials say drug charges against MacDonald remain active. It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney.
-with files from the Associated Press