Posted by Jeff from d14-69-62-196.try.wideopenwest.com (18.104.22.168) on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 at 11:40PM :
...because if he were, he'd be in a US prison soon.
Read the article below for more info.
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Mexican Police Hold Fugitive Max Factor Heir
2 hours, 18 minutes ago
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By Pablo Garibian
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico, Calif. (Reuters) - Mexican police on Wednesday arrested the fugitive (news - Y! TV) heir of the Max Factor cosmetics fortune, convicted for rape in a U.S. court, as he was being abducted by bounty hunters in a Pacific resort.
Slideshow Slideshow: Andrew Luster
Police said U.S. bounty hunter Duane Lee Chapman and two of his sons pounced on millionaire Andrew Luster in the street at 5 a.m. in the city of Puerto Vallarta. They then threw him into a van and raced toward the airport in a bid to get him back to the United States and claim their reward.
But, alerted by passers-by, police in turn chased the fugitive, his captors and two members of a U.S. television crew, arresting them all. "It appears their objective was to leave the country immediately," said local police spokesman Sebastian Zavala.
He said the bounty hunters handcuffed and sprayed an irritant on Luster, who jumped bail of $1 million in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles, in January and was later convicted in absentia of sexually assaulting three women.
Wearing a blue shirt and looking tired, Luster did not answer reporters' question shouted in English as he taken into a police van to be transferred to another police station.
U.S. officials said they hoped Luster, sentenced to more than 120 years in prison, would be extradited or deported .
"U.S. authorities, police authorities and ... the FBI (news - web sites), are working with Mexican authorities to try to get this guy returned to face justice in the United States," said embassy spokesman Jim Dickmeyer.
According to his Web site, Hawaii-based bounty hunter Chapman, who is nicknamed "Dog," is a father of 12 who once served time in a Texas prison for murder before taking up bounty hunting. His wife, Beth Smith, told Reuters he had called on his cell phone from the scene in Mexico as he was capturing Luster.
"The Lord blessed me. I've got Andrew Luster," she quoted the bounty hunter as saying. She said he called later to say he was in Mexican police custody.
DISAPPEARED IN JANUARY Luster, 39, was under house arrest when he disappeared in early January from his beachfront home near Ventura, about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles, with his dog, surfboard and collection of Chumash Indian artifacts.
He is the great grandson of Max Factor, the legendary Hollywood cosmetician who developed "pancake" makeup so that actors would not appear green in the early days of color film.
The business was sold to Procter & Gamble and Luster has no link to Procter & Gamble or the Max Factor brand.
A Ventura County Superior Court jury returned guilty verdicts on 86 of the 87 charges against Luster, including rape and sexual battery. He was accused of drugging three women with the synthetic depressant Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, then raping them. His assaults on two of the women were videotaped and footage from the videos was shown during the trial.
FBI spokesman Ralph Boelter told reporters at a news conference in Ventura that federal authorities do not condone Chapman's actions and would not intervene to help him and his associates get out of jail.
"I think his actions are beyond the bounds that I can condone," Boelter said. "We will not be acting on his behalf, we were not working in concert with him."
A couple who had been vacationing in Puerto Vallarta alerted federal authorities that they had been in contact with a man they believed was Luster, Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks said. The couple also contacted bounty hunter Chapman, who found Luster first, Brooks said.
California officials said the FBI and the bounty hunter were informed of Luster's presence eight days ago and while the bounty hunter made a beeline for Puerto Vallarta, a resort town favored by American college students, the FBI delayed going.
Bob Mack, FBI special agent in charge of the Ventura office, said agents didn't knowingly ignore the tip, but had other priorities. "There have been hundreds of tips, I mean maybe thousands of tips. ... This didn't rise above the level of any other tips and it was dutifully followed up by agents who had other cases to work on," Mack said.
Sheriff Brooks said he was not surprised Luster had been frequenting a well-known tourist hangout.
"If he was smarter he would have gone somewhere else," Brooks said. "For him to be in a tourist area is perfectly in keeping with the stereotype of young women, party goers.
"It's a perfect attraction for him ... where I would have expected he might be."
(additional reporting by Howard Breuer in Los Angeles)
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