Bounty hunters, TV crew to face charges inMexico

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- Three bounty hunters and members of a reality TV production promised on Monday to stay in Mexico to face charges connected to their attempt to capture the fugitive heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune.

The men tried to wrestle convicted rapist Andrew Luster out of his car in this Mexican resort Wednesday night, but police arrested the five and Luster. Bounty hunters have no special immunities or privileges in Mexico.

Authorities expelled Luster to the United States, where the cosmetics heir has begun serving a 124-year prison sentence for drugging and raping three women.

The five Americans declined to talk to reporters as they left the immigration office, where they signed documents pledging to not leave the country. Wearing clean clothes and smiling, the five appeared more upbeat than when they were released from jail Saturday.

The three Hawaii-based bounty hunters -- Duane "Dog" Chapman, his son Leland, and his brother Timothy -- and television producer Jeff Sells and actor Boris Krutonog face charges of illegal deprivation of liberty.

The charges, similar to kidnapping without requesting a ransom, carry a maximum of four years in prison.

The five were released from prison after posting a bail of $1,430 each. Immigration officials are also investigating whether Chapman's crew was in the country legally.

Mexican officials argue that Chapman and the rest should have gone to police instead of trying to capture Luster themselves.

Before coming to Mexico, Chapman told reporters he hoped to reap a reward from the $1 million bail that Luster forfeited by fleeing his California trial.

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