According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Ronald F. Thrasher, formerly of Colorado Springs, has been on the run for the past fourteen years. That's not entirely true: He's probably rested a time or two since 1995, when he fled custody before he could be sentenced for assorted drug- and gun-related violations. And he'll have many more leisure opportunities in the future, considering that he was captured in Texas last month and returned to our fair state in time to appear at a court proceeding this morning. Which may be just as well. He could undoubtedly use a breather.
Get the skinny from the press release accessible after the jump (suit):
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DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
David M. Gaouette
Acting United States Attorney, District of Colorado
COLORADO SPRINGS MAN ON THE RUN FOR 14 YEARS CAUGHT IN TEXAS AND BROUGHT BACK TO COLORADO
DENVER - Ronald K. Thrasher, age 48, formerly of Colorado Springs, Colorado, appeared in federal court yesterday morning after having been arrested by Deputy U.S. Marshals. Thrasher had been on the run from law enforcement for the past 14 years, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the U.S. Marshals Service announced. Thrasher was charged in 1995 with gun and drug crimes. He fled prior to being sentenced for those crimes.
Thrasher was arrested on April 15, 2009 at his residence in Corpus Christi, Texas, after the Marshals developed information regarding his location. Thrasher fled to Canada and resided in several locations under a stolen identity for 10 years. He then returned to the U.S. and settled in Corpus Christi using the same stolen identity. He was then transported in custody by Marshals to Denver. The defendant appeared in U.S. District Court in Denver yesterday for a bond hearing. U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe ordered Thrasher be detained without bond pending a resolution of his case. Thrasher is now scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn on September 9, 2009 at 9:00 am.
Ronald K. Thrasher was charged in a three count Information on April 28, 1995. He pled guilty to all of the counts charged on June 13, 1995. He then absconded before being sentenced. Thrasher was originally charged with and pled guilty to conspiracy to possess a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to the plea agreement, entered some 14 years ago, on July 31, 1994, a Fountain Police Officer contacted Thrasher following a traffic stop. During the traffic stop, the officer recovered a sawed off 20 gauge shotgun. He also recovered two shotgun shells in Thrasher's pocket. On August 5, 1994, a search of the vehicle being driven by Thrasher at the time of his arrest resulted in the recovery of additional firearms, including a Norinco SKS rifle and several packages of methamphetamine. On February 10, 1994, Thrasher pled guilty and was sentenced for class 4 felony theft in El Paso County District Court. It is against federal law for convicted felons to possess firearms.
"In this case the defendant had been on the run from law enforcement for some 14 years," said Acting U.S. Attorney David Gaouette. "Regardless of how long you've been on the run, law enforcement will always be looking for you, and eventually you will be caught."
"Preventing the illegal use of firearms continues to be one of our top priorities," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Richard Chase.
"Our effort to locate fugitives and bring them to justice does not diminish over time," said U.S. Marshal Edward Zahren. "Some cases just take longer to close."
Thrasher faces up to 5 years in federal prison and/or not more than a $250,000 fine for conspiracy. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison and/or not more than a $250,000 fine for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Lastly, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison, and not more than a $1,000,000 fine for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The actual sentence will be determined by the judge. Thrasher's advisory U.S. Sentencing Guideline calculation is 51 to 125 months.
The original investigation was conducted by the ATF and the Fountain Police Department. The recent arrest of Thrasher was handled by the ATF and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Guy Till.