Doug Stauffer, dubbed an "enforcer" for a cocaine ring leader, was ordered held Friday without bail pending his trial on racketeering, conspiracy and cocaine charges.
Stauffer, 38, once lived in Utah and had been a fugitive in Mexico since his 1987 indictment on charges linking him to a drug operation based in Santa Rosa, Calif.U.S. Magistrate Joan Brennan, in ordering Stauffer detained, said, "If his four children were not enough to induce him to return from Mexico for four years, I don't know what is.
"If this isn't a case that represents a serious flight risk I have never seen one," Brennan said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Pavone said Stauffer is currently facing indictment in federal court in Sacramento for his suspected role in a methamphetamine operation.
Stauffer allegedly participated in a major cocaine- and marijuana-trafficking organization headed by Richard S. Wallstrum. In July 1989, Wallstrum was sentenced to 10 years in prison following a guilty plea to charges he led the organization.
Authorities believe the organization imported 300 kilograms - roughly 660 pounds - of cocaine into the United States from 1974 to 1984.
The operation allegedly used commercial shipping lines as well as private and commercial air carriers to smuggle cocaine. U.S. attorneys say the drugs were hidden in the wall panels of commercial jetliners to avoid detection.
Pavone said Stauffer has lived in Newport Beach, Calif., Utah, Albuquerque, N.M., and Santa Rosa. He was arrested March 1 in Mazatlan, Mexico.