FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A fugitive wanted for seriously injuring an FHP trooper in a DUI crash more than a decade ago was captured by the U.S. Marshals Service and returned to South Florida.
The US Marshals Service deported Samuel Silva in a chartered private jet to Ft. Lauderdale Executive airport Monday afternoon.
U.S. Marshals have been investigating the whereabouts of Samuel Silva who was ordered to surrender in June of 2004—but failed to do so.
Silva was wanted by the Miami-Dade Police Department on charges of Failure to Appear for Driving Under the Influence causing serious bodily injury and causing damage to a person and property.
Silva was convicted of DUI back in 2001 and sentenced to nine and a half years in prison after his truck plowed into former Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Marisa Sanders on I-95 at 117th Street.
Sanders cruiser exploded and she suffered severe burns on 80-percent of her body.
Silva was arrested last Wednesday by Panamanian law enforcement and State Department officials and was deported Monday.
“It’s extremely satisfying,” said U.S. Marshals spokesman Barry Golden. “This is an investigation that spanned 10 years, a number of state, federal and local agencies combined their resources to track down a fugitive who has already shown he does not want to go to prison.”
Silva appealed his conviction and was released on bond. By the time the court upheld his conviction in 2004, Silva was gone.
The marshals say his first stop was his hometown of Puerto Rico, but then he bounced around to avoid being found.
“Fled to the country of Spain, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala and then to Panama,” said Golden.
Authorities said that Silva got a fake passport under a family member’s name and was living under the alias when they caught up with him in Panama City.
Authorities say Silva was combative when Panamanian authorities tried to put him on a plane back to South Florida, so the Marshals Service sent a team on a private plane to bring him back and take him to jail.
“Closure for the trooper who lost her career because of this person,” said Sergeant Mark Wysocky with Florida Highway Patrol.
Golden, following Silva’s arrest, had a message for anyone who thinks of fleeing the country.
“It doesn’t matter how far you travel, it doesn’t matter where you go, you can run, you can hide in a different country, the marshals service does not quit,” said Golden.
Silva was taken to Miami-Dade County Jail. In addition to serving out his nine and a half years for the DUI crash, he’s also facing additional federal charge for fleeing. He could be looking at an additional five years in prison.
Silva is being held on no bond.