Fugitive From “French Connection” Case Arrested
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A fugitive sought for 17 years on charges of supervising heroin distribution as part of the notorious French Connection drug network was arrested at a hospital here.
Stanton Garland, 60, was arrested Wednesday by federal marshals at the Meadowbrook Neurological Center in Los Angeles, where he was visiting his son, Deputy Marshal Ernest Santoscoy said.
Federal authorities have been searching for Garland since he disappeared in New York on Sept. 26, 1972, while facing a possible 20-year sentence for heroin distribution. At the time, Garland was testifying against other members of a ring that allegedly imported heroin from Marseilles, France.
The case, which broke in 1962 with the confiscation of 120 pounds of almost pure heroin, became the basis of the 1971 Academy Award-winning film, ″The French Connection.″
″Our understanding is he was the major ... distributor for Harlem,″ said David O’Flaherty, the deputy U.S. marshal in Brooklyn who supervised the manhunt.
Garland went to the hospital to pick up his son, Lonnie, who was seriously injured in an automobile accident in February and was to be released Wednesday, the day his health insurance expired, Santoscoy said.
Marshals staked out the hospital after the monitoring of telephone calls to Garland’s family found people were being directed to the hospital. Los Angeles-based deputies then determined that patient Lonnie Garland was the fugitive’s son, Santoscoy said.
Marshals arrested Garland outside the hospital after an administrator took him outside on the pretext of discussing his son’s records privately.
″We just walked up very quietly to him, and we just basically said, ’Mr. Garland, you’re under arrest,″ said marshal Robert Grossman, who made the arrest with Santoscoy.
″He stopped talking. Basically, he knew the jig had been had, and that was it.″
Garland was being held on a charge of escape from the Eastern District in Brooklyn.
U.S. Magistrate Robert Stone tentatively scheduled a June 9 hearing on a request for Garland’s extradition to New York, Santoscoy said.