Pubdate: Sat, 24 Dec 2016
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Paul Cherry
Page: A3


An American fugitive who was dubbed the Godfather of Grass because of
run-ins with the law involving the large-scale production of marijuana
will be detained in Montreal for at least another week while
authorities decide when he will be deported.

John Robert Boone, 73, was arrested by Montreal police Thursday
afternoon at a shopping centre, at the corner of Ste-Catherine St. W.
and Atwater Ave., putting an end to a police search that lasted eight
years. He had been sought by the Kentucky State Police and the U.S.
Marshals Service since 2008. He was detained at the
Riviere-des-Prairies Detention Centre where he had a hearing Friday
afternoon before an adjudicator with Canada's Immigration and Refugee

IRB spokesperson Christian Tessier said in an email that Boone refused
to answer any questions after the Montreal police turned him over to
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers. CBSA is certain Boone
entered Canada illegally and lived underground since. Investigators do
not know when he entered the country but CBSA first received
information he was in Canada in September. The U.S. Marshals Service
issued a statement saying "information was developed that led (it) to
a small town outside of Montreal."

"(He) was very calm but refused to answer any questions related to his
file," Tessier wrote in reference to the hearing, adding Boone was
advised to find a lawyer. The IRB adjudicator ordered he remain
detained on the basis he is unlikely to show up for a future hearing
and because he is considered a fugitive from justice. He is scheduled
to have another detention review hearing next week.

Boone faces charges in a U.S. District Court in Kentucky where a grand
jury indicted him on two counts related to the large-scale production
of marijuana. He is charged with knowingly and intentionally
manufacturing more than 1,000 pot plants and possession of marijuana
with intent to distribute.

An affidavit filed in the case describes how, on May 27, 2008, two
officers with the Kentucky State Police were conducting aerial
surveillance in Springfield, Ky. when they spotted a farm wagon in an
open farm field that had more than 900 marijuana plants growing on it.
Two other police officers were sent to the property later the same day
and found another 1,500 plants. The property was owned by Boone but he
was nowhere to be found. Seven months later, the U.S. government filed
notice that it was seeking to forfeit Boone's land.

Boone came to be known as the "Godfather of Grass" during a 1988 case
where he was convicted in Minnesota as being part of a co-operative of
29 marijuana growing farms spread across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan,
Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Nebraska.

Seventy people were arrested, including Boone who reportedly ended up
with a 15-year sentence. Some media in the U.S. have speculated he
likely fled because he was facing the possibility of being convicted a
third time in U.S. federal court, which could land him a life sentence.

An article published by a newspaper in West Virginia in 2010 noted
that Boone's fugitive status had earned him a sort of folk-hero status
in Kentucky where supporters could purchase T-shirts with the slogan
"Run, Johnny, Run" and some followed a Facebook page with the same
title. As of Friday, the Facebook page had more than 3,700 followers.
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