In 1988, Peyton Eidson was indicted for importing tons of high-grade weed into the United States. He has been described as the leader of a sophisticated operation that used a fleet of vessels to move the tons of bud from Thailand into Santa Cruz. After 30 years on the run, Eidson was captured in Queensland, Australia. He was transported back to California and handed over to US Marshals. Eidson is 72-years-old.
Eidson allegedly used fake passports to get himself and his family out of the country back in the day in 1986. The US authorities were building cases against he and other members of his organization which carried a maximum penalty of life in prison. According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
Eidson is accused of taking the identity of “Michael McGoldrick”, a Nebraska-born man who worked in Las Vegas before dying in 1999.
He is also known to use the Christian name Patton while his wife Sonja, who went with the alias Anita McGoldrick, died in Australia from cancer last year.
The couple has a daughter named Maya.
The family lived a new life, operating a popular health spa in the rainforest town of Julatten. The Eidsons were arrested in 2011 for the false passports, but fought deportation.
Eidson is scheduled to appear before a judge today (Friday, September 1). He and his attorney Erick Guzman hope that he will be granted bail. “I’m going to request bail but I’m sure the government will ask to detain him which is very troubling because he’s up in age, there’s his health condition and the jails here are tough for anybody,” said Guzman. “For someone that hasn’t been in the country for almost 30 years it would be very traumatizing for him to be held in custody while he fights his case.”
In 1989, Mark Gayer and Mark Wolosky, Eidson’s alleged co-conspirators, unsuccessfully tried to fake their own deaths by sinking a fishing boat off the coast of California. They were captured in Cali in 2000 and sentenced to 11 years each.
Eidson hopes to be able to return to Australia when all is said and done.