Canadian fugitive arrested in Florida after 30 years on the run

HOMOSASSA, FLA.—A Canadian fugitive who has been on the run for 30 years has been arrested in Florida.

U.S. authorities say they apprehended Ian Jackson MacDonald, 71, at a home in Homosassa on Tuesday.

Authorities say MacDonald escaped from federal custody in 1980 as he was waiting in Miami to be extradited to Canada on a warrant for importing and trafficking in marijuana.

He allegedly faked a heart attack and convinced a security guard at the hospital to unshackle his legs so he could take a shower. The officer walked to the nurse’s station, and when he returned MacDonald had vanished.

They say MacDonald and his wife had been living under assumed names in Pennsylvania before returning to Florida last year.

A story in the Orlando Sentinel says as he was being taken into custody, MacDonald tried to provide his alias, Jack Hunter, but deputies told him they knew who he really was.

“You’re right. You got me,” MacDonald allegedly replied. “I have been looking over my shoulder all these years. I wondered when this day would come.”

The newspaper says that in his younger days, the man known as “Big Mac” lived a flamboyant lifestyle. He scrawled his nickname on his boats, his planes, his pool and his T-shirts, according to a 1980 Sun Sentinel article about him.

MacDonald on Tuesday detailed for deputy marshals a less luxurious life at large, according to Barry Golden, senior inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service in Miami.

Golden said the fugitive ended up owning an appliance store in Pennsylvania. He also was hired as a horse caretaker for a large company and received about $1,900 in monthly pay. The job called for taking horses to fairgrounds across the United States.

He said he also travelled to Canada three times by using a valid Pennsylvania driver’s licence that he somehow obtained under a fraudulent name, Golden said.

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