Portugal judge: US fugitive won’t be extradited

March 1, 2012

The Associated Press (AP) on February 29, 2012 released the following:

“By BARRY HATTON, Associated Press

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal won’t extradite American fugitive George Wright to the United States for crimes he committed there four decades ago, after the U.S. ran out of possibilities to appeal the decision to let him stay, a Portuguese court official said Wednesday.

Portuguese police captured the 68-year-old Wright near the capital, Lisbon, in September, ending his more than 40 years on the lam after escaping from a New Jersey prison.

A Lisbon court in November refused a U.S. request to send Wright back to serve the rest of his 15- to 30-year sentence for the 1962 killing of a gas station attendant during a robbery in New Jersey. A judge ruled that the statute of limitations had expired.

Portugal’s Supreme Court twice rejected U.S. appeals of that decision. The United States did not use its last chance of appeal to Portugal’s Constitutional Court by last week’s deadline, senior Judge Luis Maria Vaz das Neves said.

“This case is now closed,” Vaz das Neves told The Associated Press by telephone.

“There was only one chance of appeal left — to the Constitutional Court — and the (U.S.) lawyers didn’t take it,” said Vaz das Neves, who has overseen the case.

The case “will be put on a shelf here somewhere,” he said from his office.

The U.S. Department of Justice, contacted by email, made no immediate comment.

Vaz das Neves said the U.S. would need to find other grounds for an extradition request, such as a crime committed more recently, to reopen the case.

The U.S. also accuses Wright of being among a group of Black Liberation Army militants that hijacked a plane in 1972 from the U.S. to Algeria.

Vaz das Neves said the Portuguese statute of limitations on that alleged crime had also expired.

Wright’s Portuguese lawyer, Manuel Luis Ferreira, said: “I’m happy. Justice has been done.”

He told the AP his client would be making no immediate comment. He said Wright is considering offers for a book and film about his life. The lawyer declined to elaborate.

The rulings by the Portuguese courts also accepted that Wright is now a Portuguese citizen. He has lived in Portugal, in a seaside village near Lisbon, since 1993 with his Portuguese wife and two children, and he uses the name Jose Luis Jorge dos Santos. Wright got Portuguese citizenship through his 1991 marriage to a Portuguese woman.

He was captured in Portugal after his U.S. fingerprint matched one in Portugal’s database of prints for all citizens.

Wright went to Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, after the 1972 hijacking. The West African country, then run by a Marxist government, granted him political asylum in the 1980s, made him a citizen and gave him his new name.

Wright spent seven years in a U.S. prison for murder before escaping in 1970.

His life on the run began when he broke out of Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, N.J., on Aug. 19, 1970, and made his way to Detroit, where he joined the Black Liberation Army. Dressed as a priest, he hijacked a Delta flight to Miami with four others, using handguns they smuggled onto the plane.

After releasing the plane’s 86 passengers for $1 million, the hijackers forced it to fly to Boston, then to Algeria, where they sought asylum.

Algeria gave the money and plane back to the U.S., and Wright and his comrades went underground, settling in France. The others were captured and convicted of hijacking in Paris, but radical French sympathizers helped Wright escape.

Wright met his future wife, Maria do Rosario Valente, in Lisbon in 1978.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Portugal here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


US asks Portugal’s Supreme Court to review case of American fugitive George Wright

January 16, 2012

The Washington Post on January 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

LISBON, Portugal — The United States has asked Portugal’s Supreme Court to review its refusal to extradite American fugitive George Wright, a U.S. Department of Justice official said.

Portuguese police captured Wright in September last year, 41 years after he escaped from a U.S. prison where he was serving a sentence for murder. He had been living in Portugal since 1993 after a spell in Africa and other European countries.

A Lisbon court denied an initial U.S. extradition request in November and freed Wright, prompting the U.S. to appeal to the country’s Supreme Court.

But the higher court disallowed the appeal last month on procedural grounds.

Department of Justice spokesperson Laura Sweeney said in an email to the AP late Friday the U.S. has asked the court to review what she said was a “preliminary ruling.”

Wright’s lawyer Manuel Luis Ferreira said he was aware of the latest U.S. request. However, he said he had not had time to study it in detail and declined to comment.

Court officials were not available Saturday.

Wright, now called Jorge Luis dos Santos after changing his name, is married to a Portuguese woman and has two grown children. They live near Lisbon, the Portuguese capital.

The lower court judge had ruled that Wright, 68, had become a Portuguese citizen and that the statute of limitations on his 15- to 30-year sentence for a robbery-murder in New Jersey had expired.

Wright spent seven years in a U.S. prison for the murder before breaking out in 1970.

He and others then hijacked a plane in 1972 from the U.S. to Algeria along with other Black Liberation Army militants.

Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony in West Africa, granted him political asylum in the 1980s when it was run by a Marxist government. Wright then got Portuguese citizenship through his 1991 marriage to a Portuguese woman.

Wright was captured in Portugal after his U.S. fingerprint matched one in Portugal’s database of prints for all citizens, according to U.S. officials.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Portugal here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Portugal Court Denies US Extradition Request for Longtime US Fugitive George Wright

November 17, 2011

A Portuguese court has denied a U.S. request for the extradition of captured American fugitive George Wright, his lawyer said Thursday.

The U.S. wants Wright returned to serve the rest of his 15- to 30-year jail sentence for a 1962 killing in New Jersey. Wright was captured in Portugal in September after more than four decades on the run.

Wright’s lawyer, Manuel Luis Ferreira, told The Associated Press by telephone the court rejected the U.S. bid.

Ferreira said the judge accepted his arguments that Wright is now Portuguese and that the statute of limitations on the killing had expired. He declined to provide further details, saying he would speak to the media later in the day.

The U.S. Department of Justice, which can appeal the decision to a higher Portuguese court, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Portuguese court proceedings for extraditions and many other type of cases are conducted in secrecy with no public access to the proceedings, filings or decisions.

Court officials contacted by telephone Thursday said the only judge who is authorized to divulge details of the ruling, Luis Neves, was traveling outside of Portugal and he did not immediately return a message left with his secretary seeking comment.

Wright spent seven years in a U.S. prison for the New Jersey murder before escaping in 1970, and was on the run for 41 years until his arrest.

Wright has been under house arrest for the past four weeks at his home near Lisbon, wearing an electronic tag that monitors his movements. He had initially been held in a Lisbon jail.

Wright was captured in the seaside village where he has lived since 1993 after authorities matched his fingerprint on a Portuguese identity card to one in the U.S.

Ferreira previously told The AP he would argue Wright is now a Portuguese citizen and should be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence in Portugal, where his wife and two grown children live.

Wright got Portuguese citizenship through his 1991 marriage to a Portuguese woman and after Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony in West Africa, gave him the new name of “Jose Luis Jorge dos Santos” complete with fake names for parents and made him a citizen.

The identity from Guinea-Bissau was granted after the country gave Wright political asylum in the 1980s, and that was accepted by Portugal when it granted him citizenship, according to his lawyer.

Wright broke out of Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey, on Aug. 19, 1970.

In 1972, Wright — dressed as a priest and using an alias — hijacked a Delta flight from Detroit to Miami along with others, police say.

After releasing the plane’s 86 other passengers for a $1 million ransom, the hijackers forced the plane to fly to Boston, then to Algeria, where the hijackers sought asylum.

Wright met his future wife, Maria do Rosario Valente, in Lisbon in 1978. The couple moved in the early 1980s to Guinea-Bissau where Wright lived openly using his real name and socialized with U.S. diplomats and embassy personnel who told The AP they were unaware of his past.

His wife also did translation work for years for the U.S. Embassy in Bissau. They lived there until they moved back to Portugal in 1993.

This article is published by Associated Press on November 17, 2011.

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s

International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Portugal here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Portuguese Court Places American Fugitive Under House Arrest

October 20, 2011

A court has allowed captured American fugitive George Wright to leave jail and stay at his Portuguese home while he fights extradition to the United States, his lawyer said Friday.

A judge hearing the case released Wright from custody on condition he remain at his house and wear an electronic tag that monitors his movements, lawyer Manuel Luis Ferreira said.

Wright spent seven years in a U.S. prison for a 1962 murder in New Jersey before escaping in 1970. He was on the run for 41 years until his arrest in Portugal almost three weeks ago. Wright had been held in a Lisbon jail since he was caught.

The United States is trying to extradite him to serve the rest of his 15- to 30-year sentence.

Portuguese broadcaster SIC showed Wright on Friday arriving at his home in Almocageme, a hamlet about 25 miles from Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. Wright was escorted into the house by two police officers. He kissed his Portuguese wife, Maria do Rosario Valente, who was waiting at the front door.

“He wants to say … that he doesn’t intend to run away. He just wants to spend his life here with his family,” Ferreira said.

Ferreira contends that Wright is now a Portuguese citizen and should be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence in Portugal.

U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined to comment.

Wright was captured in the village after authorities matched his fingerprint on a Portuguese identity card to one in the United States. Locals say Wright spoke fluent Portuguese and was a regular churchgoer who lived from odd jobs.

The judge overseeing the case may call witnesses before announcing his decision on extradition in coming weeks. That decision can be appealed to higher courts, and the entire process could take months or longer.

Wright got Portuguese citizenship through marriage in 1991 after Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony in West Africa, gave him the new name of “Jose Luis Jorge dos Santos” and made him a citizen.

The identity from Guinea-Bissau was granted after the country gave Wright political asylum in the 1980s, and that was accepted by Portugal, according to the lawyer.

Wright broke out of Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, N.J., on Aug. 19, 1970. In 1972, Wright — dressed as a priest and using an alias — hijacked a Delta flight from Detroit to Miami along with others, police said. After releasing the plane’s 86 other passengers for a $1 million ransom, the hijackers forced the plane to fly to Boston, then to Algeria, where the hijackers sought asylum.

This article was written by Barry Hatton and published by the Kansas City Star October 14, 2011.

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Portugal here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Lisbon court places US fugitive, George Wright, under house arrest

October 14, 2011

The Associated Press (AP) on October 14, 2011 released the following:

“By BARRY HATTON, Associated Press

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — A court has allowed captured American fugitive George Wright to leave jail and stay at his Portuguese home while he fights extradition to the U.S., his lawyer said Friday.

A judge hearing the case released Wright from custody on condition he stays at his home near Lisbon and wears an electronic tag that monitors his movements, lawyer Manuel Luis Ferreira said.

Wright spent seven years in prison before escaping in 1970, and was on the run for 41 years until his arrest in Portugal almost three weeks ago. Wright had been held in a Lisbon jail since he was caught.

“He can’t leave the house and he can’t speak about the case to anyone,” Ferreira told The Associated Press.

Under Portuguese law, court proceedings and police investigations are confidential.

The U.S. is trying to extradite Wright to serve the rest of his 15- to 30-year sentence for a 1962 murder in New Jersey.

Portuguese broadcaster S.I.C. showed Wright arriving at his home, in a hamlet near a stunning beach about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, on Friday evening.

Wright, his head shaved and wearing glasses, was escorted into the house by two police officers. He kissed his Portuguese wife, Maria do Rosario Valente, who was waiting at the front door before going inside.

Ferreira contends that Wright is now a Portuguese citizen and should be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence in Portugal, where his wife and two grown children live.

The judge overseeing the case may call witnesses before announcing his decision in coming weeks. That decision can be appealed to higher courts, and the entire process could take months or longer.

Wright got Portuguese citizenship through marriage in 1991 after Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony in West Africa, gave him the new name of “Jose Luis Jorge dos Santos” and made him a citizen.

The identity from Guinea-Bissau was granted after the country gave Wright political asylum in the 1980s, and that was accepted by Portugal, according to the lawyer.

Wright broke out of Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey, on Aug. 19, 1970. He was also part of a Black Liberation Army group that hijacked a U.S. plane to Algeria in 1972, the FBI says.

No one answered the phone Friday afternoon at the Howell, New Jersey, home of Anne Patterson, daughter of Walter Patterson, who was shot and killed by Wright and an associate in 1962.”

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


US fugitive wants to serve time in Portugal

September 30, 2011

Forbes.com on August 30, 2011 released the following:

“By BARRY HATTON

LISBON, Portugal — An American killer and alleged hijacker who was a fugitive for 41 years should serve the rest of his jail time in Portugal where he was captured instead of being extradited to the United States, his lawyer says.

George Wright, 68, deserves to serve the remainder of his 15- to 30-year New Jersey murder sentence in Portugal because he has lived in the country for decades, has a Portuguese wife and grown Portuguese children, said the lawyer, Manuel Luis Ferreira.

“If he has to serve, then he wants it to be here, which is his home,” Ferreira told Portugal’s TVI television late Thursday.

Wright broke out of the Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey, on Aug. 19, 1970, after serving about 7 1/2 years of his sentence for killing a man in a 1962 gas station robbery. He then was part of a Black Liberation Army group that hijacked a U.S. plane to Algeria in 1972.

Wright was captured in a seaside village near Lisbon on Monday after authorities matched his fingerprint on a Portuguese identity card to one in the United States.

Ferreira said Wright will oppose extradition on the ground that he fears reprisals for his past membership in the militant U.S. group. He did not elaborate.

He said his client had been living openly in Portugal and even had a Facebook page.

“He wasn’t running. He wasn’t hiding,” Ferreira told TVI.

But Ferreira didn’t mention that Wright lived in Portugal under the alias Jose Luis Jorge dos Santos, which was listed on his Portuguese residency card.

Wright’s children, said to be in their early 20s, knew nothing about his past until his capture this week, according to Ferreira.

Ann Patterson, whose father Walter was killed by Wright, said she wanted him sent back to the United States.

“I honestly think he should serve (his sentence) where he did the crime,” she told The Associated Press. “I feel sorry for his children. I would not wish them to go through what my sister and I went through. He chose the crime and when you choose the crime you choose the punishment that goes with it.”

U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined to comment on the defense counsel’s arguments due to the pending nature of the extradition request.

Ferreira did not outline his legal strategy for trying to prevent Wright from being extradited to face charges in the plane hijacking. He said Friday that he was too busy to discuss the case.

U.S. officials so far have only discussed Wright’s past murder conviction, not any possible future charges from the hijacking.

Hijacking in the United States carries a possible penalty of life in prison, and Portugal does not allow people to be extradited if they will face more than the nation’s maximum sentence of 25 years.

Under Portuguese law, citizens can serve sentences handed down in a foreign country in Portugal. But Portuguese officials say there is doubt about the validity of Wright’s identification documents and whether he is a national. They declined to elaborate because public access to information about court cases is restricted.

A photocopy of a Portuguese identity card issued to Wright in 1993 listed his home country as Guinea-Bissau, where he lived in the 1980s. A foreigner marrying a Portuguese is entitled to Portuguese nationality, but has to formally request it and it is not known whether Wright did.

Wright – dressed as a priest and using an alias – is accused of hijacking a Delta flight from Detroit to Miami in 1972 along with four other Black Liberation Army members and some children.

Wright arrived in Portugal in 1978, his attorney said. Wright also spent years in the 1980s living openly under his own name in Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony in West Africa, and even socialized with U.S. embassy officials there.

Ferreira said he marveled at Wright’s saga, which covered three continents and four decades.

“This story would make a television series. I’m still trying to digest it myself,” he said.

Wright is being held in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, pending extradition hearings and will likely remain in detention for at least several weeks during the hearings, according to the president of the Lisbon court overseeing the case. Wright has asked to be freed during the process, a request that is still pending.

If he loses, he can appeal the extradition decision to Portugal’s Supreme Court and the country’s Constitutional Court, a process likely to last months or even years, the judge, Luis Maria Vaz das Neves, told The AP.

A recent high-profile extradition case involving an Indian terror suspect took years to resolve.

Abu Salem, arrested in Portugal in September 2002, was a prime suspect in 1993 bombings that struck Bombay, killing 257 people and wounding more than 1,100. He was extradited three years later after his appeals to higher courts failed.

But to get Portugal to extradite Salem, India had to promise to forgo the death penalty and impose a prison term of 25 years or less if he’s convicted, Indian officials said.

Wright was convicted of the 1962 murder of a gas station owner in Wall, New Jersey.

In the 1972 hijacking, Wright and the other Black Liberation Army members released the plane’s 86 other passengers for a $1 million ransom. They then forced the plane to fly to Boston, then onto Algeria, where the hijackers sought asylum. Algeria returned the plane and the money to the United States but allowed the hijackers to stay.

Wright and the other hijackers left Algeria in late 1972 or early 1973 and settled in France, according to Mikhael Ganouna, producer of the 2010 documentary “Nobody Knows my Name” about the hijacking.

But Wright left the group, and his associates were subsequently tracked down, arrested and convicted in Paris in 1976. The French government, however, refused to extradite them to the United States.

Douglas McNabb, a Washington-based lawyer who has defended people in extradition cases for more than 20 years, said he expects the U.S. to add some charges related to the hijacking to make an example of Wright.

“This taints the U.S’s, image that someone could be gone and not found as long as he was,” McNabb said.

However, Danielle Hunter, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Corrections, said there has not been talk so far of adding charges relating to Wright’s prison escape.

Norris Gelman, the Philadelphia lawyer who represented Ira Einhorn, who fled the U.S. in 1981 just before a trial for the murder of his ex-girlfriend in 1977 and was returned to the U.S. in 2001, said he expects authorities to pursue Wright to the end now that they have found him.

The U.S. “will move heaven and earth to get him back here, and I believe they will be successful. If they have to do it through diplomacy, they will do it through diplomacy,” he said. “I will tell you on good authority, time will not heal this wound.””

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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U.S. Fugitive Found Hiding in Portuguese Hamlet

September 29, 2011

A 1970s militant who carried out one of the most brazen plane hijackings in U.S. history lived for decades in an idyllic Portuguese hamlet near a stunning beach with his Portuguese wife and two children, neighbors said Wednesday.

George Wright, 68, was taken into custody by local police Monday at the request of the U.S. government, which is seeking his extradition for escaping from a New Jersey jail in 1970 after being convicted of murder. Wright was also named as one of the hijackers of a Delta flight in 1972.

The Portuguese news agency Lusa, citing unnamed police sources, reported Wednesday that the former Black Liberation Army member plans to fight the extradition demand.

During a court appearance Tuesday in Lisbon, Wright asked to be released pending the outcome of the U.S. extradition request, and his request is being reviewed by Portuguese judicial authorities, U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney said Wednesday.

Until his arrest, life was sweet for Wright in the tiny town of Almocageme, 28 miles west of Lisbon. Fluent in Portuguese, Wright had no apparent profession but worked a series of odd jobs, most recently as a nightclub bouncer, said two neighbors who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared being ostracized for speaking out.

Wright married a Portuguese woman, identified by neighbors as 55-year-old Maria do Rosario Valente, the daughter of a retired Portuguese army officer. They had two children — Portuguese-born Marco and Sara — now in their early 20s, who used their mother’s last name when they registered for swim classes at the local pool.

The couple lived in a small, whitewashed house with terracotta roof tiles, a yellow door and a small front garden in the picturesque village, which lies close to broad Atlantic beaches. A gray Volkswagen station wagon that neighbors said Wright drove was parked on the cobbled dead-end street outside.

Wright was convicted of the 1962 murder of gas station owner Walter Patterson, a decorated World War II veteran shot during a robbery at his business in Wall, New Jersey.

His daughter, Ann Patterson, told the AP she wants Wright sent back quickly to the United States. “I’m so thankful that now there’s justice for Daddy,” she said Wednesday. “He never got any kind of justice.”

Wright possessed a Portuguese identity card that said he was born in Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony in West Africa. A photocopy of the document, shown to The AP, bore the name Jose Luis Jorge dos Santos, an alias that U.S. officials said Wright used. The identity card puts his age as 68. It was issued in 1993 and expired in 2004.

Neighbors estimated the family had been in the village for at least 20 years but said the couple didn’t mix much with neighbors. None of them witnessed Wright’s arrest.

Rui Santos, who works at the parish council, said Wright approached him in the mid-1990s and offered, in Portuguese, to coach local kids at basketball but the project never got off the ground.

A fingerprint on Wright’s Portuguese ID card was the break that led a U.S. fugitive task force to him. He was arrested by Portuguese authorities and is being detained in Lisbon but Portuguese police have repeatedly refused to release any details about the case.

Eight years into his 15- to 30-year prison term, Wright and three other men escaped from the Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey, on Aug. 19, 1970.

The FBI said Wright became affiliated with an underground militant group, the Black Liberation Army, and lived in a “communal family” with several of its members in Detroit.

In 1972, Wright — dressed as a priest and using an alias — hijacked a Delta flight from Detroit to Miami with four other Black Liberation Army members and three children, including Wright’s companion and their 2-year-old daughter. The hijackers with Wright were not the same men who escaped from prison with him.

After releasing the plane’s 86 other passengers in exchange for a $1 million ransom — delivered by an FBI agent wearing only swim trunks — the hijackers forced the plane to fly to Boston. There an international navigator was taken aboard, and the plane was flown to Algeria, where the hijackers sought asylum.

Wright’s capture was among the top priorities when the New York-New Jersey Fugitive Task Force was formed in 2002, according to Michael Schroeder, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service, who worked with New Jersey’s FBI and other agencies on the task force.

Investigators started the case anew. They reviewed reports from the 1970s, interviewed Wright’s victims and had age-enhanced sketches made.

An address in Portugal was one of several places they wanted to check out.

That changed last week, when details started falling into place with the help of Portuguese authorities.

By the weekend, U.S. authorities were on a plane to Portugal. And Monday, Portuguese police staking out Wright’s home found him there.

This article was written by Barry Hatton and published by htrnews.com on September 28, 2011.

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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