Alleged drug kingpin arrested in Marion County after more than 35 years as a fugitive

Ocala – The US Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint charging Howard D. Farley, Jr. (72, Weirsdale) with passport fraud. Farley was arrested on December 2nd. 

Howard D. Farley, Jr., 72, of Weirsdale

According to the complaint, in or around February of 2020, Farley submitted a passport application using the name, date of birth, and Social Security number of an individual who had died as an infant in 1955. When applying for this passport, Farley failed to disclose his true identity.

In 1985, Farley, along with 73 others, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Nebraska and charged with a narcotics conspiracy. Farley was alleged to be the “drug kingpin” of the Southern Line, a railroad line that was used by the drug dealers to distribute narcotics throughout the United States. Records show that Farley was the only defendant not apprehended in the case, and that he instead assumed the identity of the deceased individual in 1985, and remained a fugitive for more than 35 years.

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On December 2nd, Farley was arrested at his home on a federal warrant for this complaint under the name “John Doe.” A fingerprint comparison confirmed that he was Howard D. Farley, Jr., the same person wanted in Nebraska since 1985. At the time of his arrest, Farley was attempting to board his private aircraft in the hangar at his home, which he flew using a fraudulent pilot’s license in the name of deceased individual. During the execution of a search warrant, authorities recovered a firearm from inside Farley’s home. Farley was convicted in 1970 of burglary in Nebraska state court.

A criminal complaint is only an allegation and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, the Social Security – Administration Office of the Inspector General, and with support from the Ocala Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Homeland Security, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael P. Felicetta.  

If convicted, Farley faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.     

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