Federal marshals capture fugitive in Mexico who escaped from Morgantown in 2013

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A fugitive who has been the subject of two manhunts by federal marshals in West Virginia has been captured in Mexico after escaping from federal custody in Morgantown last year.

Mexican authorities arrested Eugene Cobbs, 43, who is originally from Philadelphia, without incident Monday. He was returned to the U.S. today and being held in Los Angeles pending extradition to West Virginia.

Mr. Cobbs, who crashed a plane hauling $24 million worth of cocaine in West Virginia in 2004 and walked away, was on the run for four years before marshals tracked him down in Mexico in 2008.

He was sentenced to federal prison and due out in 2019, but after being transferred to a lower-security prison camp in Morgantown, he walked away on April 10, 2013, and caught a bus to Philadelphia.

In September 2013, marshals discovered that Mr. Cobbs had again crossed into Mexico, where he has a wife and child.

Marshals said he proved elusive south of the border, using false names and living in multiple locations. After his arrest Monday, he gave a fake name but was later identified and deported.

While on the run, federal authorities say, Mr. Cobbs had help from Jamie Angel Clayton, 39, who is under indictment after her arrest in New York in May 2013. Her case is pending.

When Mr. Cobbs crashed his plane at Wheeling-Ohio County airport on Dec. 18, 2004, he was carrying 525 pounds of cocaine, the largest amount of narcotics ever located in West Virginia up to that date.

Federal prosecutors said Mr. Cobbs bought the plane for $300,000 in 2004 and began hauling cocaine from Compton, Calif., to Philadelphia, stopping at small airports to refuel. He was flying from Missouri when he crashed in Wheeling.

A native of Philadelphia, he also triggered a state grand jury investigation of the Pennsylvania driver's license system because he was using a fake state ID. That case resulted in charges against more than 45 people accused of using stolen or fake identities to get driver's licenses.

First Published June 24, 2014 12:00 AM


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