The U.S. Marshals Service has arrested an alleged ring leader of the nation's largest synthetic hallucinogen case.
John Skruck was arrested Saturday when U.S. Marshals from New Mexico closed in on his San Cristobal, NM hideout. The hideout is approximately one hour from the Colorado border located in the state's northern mountain region, officials said.
Skruck was arrested without incident by a team of U.S. Marshals from the Santa Fe, NM office following coordination with the Clarksburg U.S. Marshals office.
Skruck, the alleged ring leader of the nation's largest synthetic hallucinogen case, failed to appear for his trial in federal court back in May of 2013 which resulted in an arrest warrant being issued.
The U.S. Marshals Service has been diligently investigating the case for the past eight months, having sent out dozens of leads across the country and logging hundreds of man hours. Skruck will be presented before a New Mexico federal magistrate on Monday to begin the judicial process of having him returned to West Virginia to stand trial.
"Our investigators have worked tirelessly while chasing this illusive and sophisticated fugitive. Some manhunts can be very challenging and the Skruck case was just that, a challenge" said Gary Gaskins, U.S. Marshal for the Northern Judicial District of West Virginia. " We've had a jail cell reserved for Mr Skruck since May and it will soon be filled", Gaskins said.
Early on in the fugitive case fingers were being pointed to south of the border as a possible location for Skruck, a notion that didn't seem probable to the US Marshals Service.
"Fugitives such as Skruck rarely flee to Mexico, and when they do it is for a relatively short period of time," said Alex Neville, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal of West Virginia's Northern District. " Mexico is not a nice place to hideout, especially for someone who is not a Mexican national and possesses no family ties there,"
The cost of protection while in the country illegally, coupled with the inherent dangers which come with setting up residency in the violent drug ridden nation tend to make the decision to take flight there a rare one. We knew Skruck was either on the southwest border or close to it", Neville added. "Interestingly enough, St. Cristobal is Spanish for St. Christopher, a saint which travelers often claim as their own for safety while on journeys. It appears St. Michael carried the day for us, the patron saint of cops" Neville said.
Neville said Monday that Skruck will likely appear before a federal magistrate on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Neville anticipates Skruck's return to West Virginia to happen in early February.