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New York Pot King Caught After 20 Years on the Run

November 3, 2014  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
New York Pot King Caught After 20 Years on the Run

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According to the Daily News, A fugitive from New York who had jumped bail after being arrested in one of upstate New York’s biggest pot busts in history has been apprehended in Oregon after 20 years.

John Franklin Forbis was in court looking more like a bald Grizzly Adams after Lane County Sheriff’s Office arrested the 72-year-old near the coastal Siuslaw National Forest where he’s been on the Lam using a fake name.

The aging ex pot dealer was taken into custody last Thursday in the small community of Deadwood after becoming sick and filing for Social Security benefits using his true identity, the sheriff’s office had announced.

The veteran drug trafficker with a specialty in making marijuana-infused rum vanished without a trace from Hudson, New York in 1992 after telling his fellow jail birds he’d be seeking freedom in Turkey.

“He was the only defendant that I could remember essentially losing,” Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka told the Daily News while flipping through two-decade-old court documents.

His passport – cluttered with international stamps – indicated Forbis was a flight risk. The judge’s ultimate denial of Czajka’s request of a $2 million bail led to his escape.

He posted a percentage of his $150,000 bail set shortly after New York State Police caught the then-50-year-old with $1 million worth of marijuana stashed in a storage shed.

Inflation would now set that pot’s worth at more than $1.6 million.

Forbis spent only three weeks at his newly-rented home before troopers raided the property and found 850 pounds of marijuana in trash bags allegedly collected through air drops in the Gallatin area, Czajka added.

The fugitive had been convicted by a jury and sentenced to five to 15 years in prison for first-degree possession of marijuana despite being a no-show for his Columbia County trial.

In 2012, Czajka dusted off Forbis’ case file after spending the majority of the fugitive’s time on the lam as a Columbia County judge. He returned to his District Attorney seat and requested another search for the one that got away.

“It’s the biggest pot case we’ve ever had,” Czajka said, but clarified that “people were not knocking on his door for an ounce or two.”

It’s not known what alias Forbis used in Oregon, where he is a former resident.

Forbis will be extradited back to New York and likely be taken to the Department of Corrections to serve his sentence.

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