Leader of California marijuana smuggling ring in custody after 30 years on the lam

SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. officials say the leader of a California drug smuggling ring in the 1980s who was on the run for almost 30 years was brought from Australia to face charges.

The U.S. Marshals Service says 72-year-old Peyton Eidson, who lived in Queensland, Australia, was escorted by Australian officials and taken into custody Thursday at San Francisco International Airport.

Frank Conroy, supervisory deputy marshal for Northern California, said he doubted Eidson had an attorney.

Eidson was indicted in 1988 for importing tons of high-grade marijuana throughout the 1980s.

Authorities say Eidson had a false passport and lived abroad for decades. He was arrested in Australia in 2011 but had fought deportation.

Officials say two of his associates tried to fake their own deaths by sinking a fishing boat in the 1990s.

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