USAF arrests one of its most-wanted fugitives after 35 years on the run

Capt. William Howard Hughes, Jr. was formally declared a deserter by the Air Force Dec. 9, 1983. (U.S. Air Force)

The US Air Force has caught their most-wanted fugitive, who apparently went by an alias for nearly 35 years.

Captain William H. Hughes Jr., was apprehended in California on Wednesday after a passport fraud investigation led to his arrest.

Captain Hughes -who has lived as Barry O’Beirne- deserted from a New Mexico base in 1983, taking with him confidential NATO information he obtained with his top secret clearance, including classified planning and analysis of NATO command, control and communications surveillance systems.

After returning from temporary duty in Europe, Hughes claimed he was depressed about his military career, withdrew $28,500 from his bank account and vanished.

Family, friends and co-workers claimed they had no idea where he was during his decades of disappearance- it wasn’t until he was pegged for passport fraud that he identified himself to authorities.

According to the Stars and Stripes, Hughes is currently at Travis Air Force Base awaiting pretrial confinement.

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