OCALA, Florida — A wanted drug kingpin who had been on the lam for 35 years has finally been caught after authorities caught him trying to renew a passport using the identity of an infant who died in 1955.
Federal prosecutors say 72-year-old Howard Farley disappeared in 1985 after being indicted with 73 others, for running a major drug ring out of Nebraska.
Authorities described Farley as the kingpin behind the ring, known as the Southern Line, a railroad line the traffickers used to distribute drugs around the country.
At the time, prosecutors alleged Farley, known by the nickname the “Big H,” began running the drug ring in June 1979, bringing in narcotics, including cocaine and LSD, through Florida before shipping them north.
While his 73 co-defendants were tried, Farley was never apprehended and had lived in plain sight in Weirsdale, Florida ever since, prosecutors say.
But earlier this year, the feds began zeroing in on him when he tried to renew a passport using the name, social security number and date of birth of a 3-month-old child who died in 1955.
An investigation revealed that Farley had been using the identity since the 1980s and had gotten driver’s licenses and even a pilot license in that name. He had even travelled abroad using the assumed identity.
On Dec. 2, Farley was arrested at his Florida home on charges of passport fraud.
A fingerprint comparison confirmed that he was indeed Howard D. Farley, Jr., the same person wanted in Nebraska since 1985.
At the time of his arrest, Farley was attempting to board his private aircraft in the hangar at his home. During the execution of a search warrant, authorities recovered a firearm from inside Farley’s home.
He faces up to 10 years in federal prison on the passport fraud charge and will now finally face the music on the decades-old drug charges.