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Suspected cocaine trafficking fugitive arrested in Northridge

March 21, 2013 |  8:55 am

A suspected cocaine trafficker was scheduled to appear in court Thursday after he was arrested by U.S. marshals in Los Angeles following his alleged escape from a federal holding center in South Carolina.

After nearly two years, Charles Dwight Ransom Jr. was arrested Wednesday in his apartment next to the Cal State Northridge campus.

After escaping federal custody in South Carolina by forcing a fellow inmate to switch identification wristbands with him so he could go free, officials say, Ransom returned to Los Angeles.

Ransom was apparently unaware the federal drug trafficking case against him was based in Los Angeles, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement.

His name and photo were still listed on the Drug Enforcement Agency Los Angeles bureau’s Most Wanted List Thursday morning.

According to a 2010 federal indictment, Ransom was part of a network of traffickers who shipped hundreds of kilos of cocaine to Baltimore. The group shipped the narcotics through Federal Express shipments and by private planes.

Ransom was present during one incident in Kansas, where federal authorities seized 48 kilos as the plane refueled, according to the indictment.

Authorities had tricked Ransom and the other traffickers into thinking the seizure was part of a random search. Ransom was previously arrested in 2003, when officers found $200,000 in cash in his vehicle and home.

He was scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday and also faces charges of escaping custody in South Carolina.

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-- Joseph Serna

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