After 30 Years on the Lam, Fugitive Handles Arrest With Surprising Calm


Some time ago, in 1980, Ian Jackson MacDonald was locked up in a South Miami–Dade County federal prison, awaiting extradition on a Canadian warrant to face outstanding charges for allegedly smuggling 500 pounds of marijuana. Rather than stay there, MacDonald — “Big Mac,” to friends — faked a heart attack to get to a hospital. There, he persuaded a security guard to unshackle his legs so he could take a shower, and he promptly escaped. MacDonald lived a quiet life as a fugitive with his wife, moving to West Virginia, changing his name to Jack Hunter, and operating a popular, family-run appliance store called “19th Hole Used Appliances.” You’d never even know that the feds were after him. Until yesterday. When, all this time later, a document buried in a file led cold-case investigators to MacDonald’s mobile home hideaway in Homosassa, Florida. Now 71, MacDonald could have fought investigators off, put on a mask, and continued his life on the lam. Or, you know, just called it a day:

This is a message to all at-large felons that law enforcement agents never give up when searching for fugitives,” Michael Ruff, a special agent with the Department of Corrections, said. But the message sounds more like: With 30 years and 500 pounds of marijuana, one can truly make peace with his crimes.

Marshals nab fugitive after 30 years on lam [CNN]
Ian Jackson MacDonald, Fugitive for 30 Years, Captured in South Florida, U.S. Marshals Say [CBS]
Ian Jackson MacDonald, accused drug smuggler, nabbed after 30 years on America’s Most Wanted list [NYDN]