U.S. officials were told years ago that fugitive was in N.L. but took no apparent action: documents

Robert Andrew Land, 62, is pictured before a hearing at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's on Wednesday. (Ryan Cooke/CBC - image credit)
Robert Andrew Land, 62, is pictured before a hearing at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's on Wednesday. (Ryan Cooke/CBC - image credit)
Robert Andrew Land, 62, is pictured before a hearing at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's on Wednesday.
Robert Andrew Land, 62, is pictured before a hearing at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's on Wednesday.

Robert Andrew Land, 62, sits in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's ahead of a hearing Wednesday. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

American authorities were first told six years ago that a fugitive from Arizona was in Newfoundland, but it doesn't appear U.S. officials took any action at the time to have him returned south of the border.

Robert Andrew Land was finally arrested and taken into custody last week, after a warrant was issued for his arrest in Canada to have him extradited.

In 2005, Land pleaded guilty in Arizona to sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl and was sentenced to 2½ years in prison. After serving his sentence, he was put on lifetime probation.

A warrant was issued in Arizona in 2013 when Land tested positive for methamphetamine and probation officers couldn't find him at his registered address.

In a downloadable poster on their website, the U.S. Marshals offered a reward for Land, saying he has been "wanted since 2013."

But according to court documents obtained by CBC News, Arizona probation officials were told in March 2018 that Land had been arrested in Newfoundland.

Those filings don't say why he was arrested — or why he wasn't returned to the U.S.

In response to general questions from CBC News about Land's case, the U.S. Marshals issued a statement, citing internal policy not to discuss fugitive extraditions, deportations or removals until they've been completed.

Officials did not immediately respond to a followup email Wednesday afternoon about Land's 2018 arrest in Newfoundland.

Anonymous tip eventually led to sighting

Just over two years later, in the summer of 2020, the deputy county attorney in Arizona's Maricopa County signed off on a request to extradite Land from Canada.

According to court documents, the Mounties in Newfoundland started to look for him in 2021, after receiving a request from Interpol. The RCMP began to conduct "covert surveillance" on an address believed to be Land's home in Carbonear.

Fast-forward to May of this year, when local Mounties were contacted by Canadian Justice Department officials "who advised that they had been in regular contact with Interpol in order to try and locate Land."

But police officers didn't track him down until receiving an anonymous tip a week ago that Land was working at a paving company as a truck driver.

The tipster said they were aware U.S. authorities were looking for Land because they saw him on a Facebook page for wanted fugitives.

The Mounties then spotted Land at a job site, before going to a judge to get a warrant to take him into custody.

The warrant was issued, and the Mounties arrested Land later that day in Carbonear.

At Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's on Wednesday, Justice Valerie Marshall ordered Land to remain in custody, at least for now.

He's scheduled to be back in court on July 8 for a hearing to determine whether he will be released or stay behind bars while extradition proceedings are underway.

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