An alleged drug kingpin from Nebraska hid for over three decades using a dead baby's identity, authorities said. Howard Farley, 72, was finally arrested on Wednesday while trying to flee in his private plane in the hangar at his home in Florida. Police said that while they searched for Farley for years, he was hiding in plain sight all along using the identity of the dead baby.
Farley was a "drug kingpin" of the Southern Line, a railroad line used as a distribution channel for narcotics throughout the United States. For so many years he kept bluffing the police till he was busted after sending an application to renew his passport using the dead baby's name and social security number.
Farley was indicted by a Nebraska federal grand jury in 1985 along with 73 others for running the Southern Line to move narcotics across the United States. Farley, who was 37 at the time of his indictment, was ultimately the only individual in the big bust who police failed to take into custody. In fact authorities suspected Farley of fleeing the country.
According to federal authorities, Farley was hiding in plain sight for 35 years, using the identity of a Florida infant who died in 1955. Hence no one suspected him. According to a criminal complaint, Farley stole the identity of an individual identified only as "T.B" who was born in Lake Worth, Florida, in 1954 and died three months later.
However, he wasn't lucky this time around and was arrested while trying to board his private plane. During the execution of a search warrant, authorities also recovered a firearm from inside Farley's home.
Caught in His Own Trap
Police haven't yet released the factitious name that Farley so long had been living under. Farley has been living in the United States, sharing a home in Weirsdale, Florida, since 2007 with a 56-year-old woman who was born in Vietnam.
He was finally caught after fraud prevention managers at a passport agency took a closer look at his February 2020 passport application for renewal and started suspecting him. They discovered T.B.'s Social Security information was "registered in 1983," which is highly unusual for a person born in 1954.
However, he was arrested only after having successfully bluffed the authorities on three earlier occasions. The complaint alleges that Farley used T.B's information to obtain a passport on in March 1987, October 1998 and October 2008 but no one suspected hm.
Finally, fingerprint comparison confirmed that Farley was the same person wanted in Nebraska since 1985. Investigations have revealed that Farley also obtained a Florida driver's license in the infant's name, using the same birthday and Social Security number he provided on his passport applications.
Besides he also secured a pilot's license in December 2000 using the same identity. He even applied for renewals or recertification of documents related to his pilot's license, the most recent being on July 13, 2020.
For the time being authorities are seeking to charge him with passport fraud. If convicted he could face 10 years in prison. However, additional charges may also be slapped for his past crimes once the investigation is over, which might increase the jail term.