Fresno-Texas drug suspect is on the run

FRESNO, Calif.

Authorities tracked a large marijuana shipment through California, Arizona, New Mexico, and And Texas. Investigators say two women transported the drugs across the state lines.

Timothy Duane is the man Fresno County Sheriff's Investigators say was behind the whole operation. He's a former Madera County Probation Officer who was fired last year not long before the bust.

Duane promised a Texas judge that if he would grant his release, he would fly to Fresno and face the charges here. He hired a Fresno attorney and that attorney was waiting for him in federal court. But, Duane did not show up and Tuesday night, he is nowhere to be found.

A 27 hour journey last November, led Fresno County undercover detectives to a home in a suburb of Dallas. They found heavy suitcases and duffel bags filled with marijuana. Investigators say the vacuum sealed bags of pot were loaded into a SUV and started on the 15-hundred mile cross country odyssey.

Action News was there when Timothy Duane and two women, who investigators say transported the drugs, were arrested and taken to jail on state charges.

Sheriffs say a 53-year-old woman was a passenger in the white SUV for the whole journey.

Shortly after their initial arrest, Timothy Duane bailed out of jail, so did his wife Lorena Duane and Kay Viengkham. But once federal charges were filed, they were all arrested again.

Action News has learned Duane promised a Texas judge that he would fly into the Central Valley to make his federal court appearance. His Fresno Attorney, Marshall Hodgkins, told Action News quote: "I have no idea where he is or what's going on with him. I have no methods of contacting him except for old numbers that don't work."

Kathy Hart is a local attorney who handles many federal cases. She says Duane's failure to appear now has created a whole new problem. On top of the drug charges, he will now have to answer to another separate charge. "That is a terrible no no. That person will not get released. When that person is caught, that person is not going to stand any chance whatsoever. You could have bail at $10 million, you could have property all over the country to post. That person will not be released."

Duane is facing serious federal charges of distributing, possessing, and cultivating marijuana. If convicted, he and the other defendants face a minimum of 5 to 40 years in prison.

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