Weirsdale man on lam for 30 years sentenced

The Golden-Collum Memorial Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is shown in Ocala, Fla. on Friday, July 2, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

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Posted August 12, 2021 | The Associated Press

The Golden-Collum Memorial Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

A man accused of fleeing a drug conspiracy charge in Nebraska more than three decades ago and living under a false identity in Marion County has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Howard D. Farley Jr., 72, was sentenced in Ocala federal court, according to court records.

He pleaded guilty in April to passport fraud, aggravated identity theft and operating as a pilot without a license. Farley was arrested in November at his Weirsdale home. His wife, Duc Hanh Thi Vu, was also arrested and faces federal charges. Her trial is scheduled for October.

According to a criminal complaint, Farley applied for a passport in February 2020 using the name, birth date and Social Security number of a person who had died as an infant in 1955.

He had previously used that identity in 2016 to obtain a pilot’s license, officials said.

In 1985, Farley and 73 others were indicted by a federal grand jury in Nebraska. Prosecutors had alleged that Farley was the “drug kingpin” on a railroad line used to move narcotics throughout the U.S. Records show that Farley was the only defendant not apprehended in the case. Those charges were dismissed in 2014. Fingerprints confirmed Farley’s identity after his arrest, officials said.

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