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British suspect 'Fast Eddie' to be deported from U.S.

Saturday, May 12, 2012 | 3:31 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — A man suspected in an armored van robbery in his native England who was arrested in Missouri after nearly two decades on the run has agreed to be sent back to Britain to face charges, federal officials said Friday.

A magistrate approved Edward J. Maher's transfer to U.S. immigration officials for deportation at federal court in Springfield on Friday, according to Don Ledford, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas City.

Police in Suffolk, England, said the 56-year-old faces charges of conspiracy to rob, but that arrangements have yet to be made to transfer him to his homeland.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gail Montenegro confirmed that Maher had been turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody Friday and that his removal from the U.S was still pending. Montenegro said the agency could not comment on details about prisoner transportation plans for security reasons.

Dubbed "Fast Eddie" by British media, Maher was working as a guard for a security company in 1993 when authorities say he conducted a heist that netted him a haul of British currency worth about $1.5 million at the time.

Authorities allege he made off with the armored van as a fellow security guard made a delivery at a bank in Suffolk. The abandoned van was later discovered although its booty of 50 bags containing coins and notes was gone.

Authorities offered a reward, and there were reported sightings of Maher across Europe, but his trail eventually went cold.

At some point, his family fled to the U.S. where Maher used aliases including Stephen King. It's unclear what happened to the money.

Maher was arrested in February in Ozark, where authorities said he was living under his brother's name and working as a cable technician. Since then he has been in custody in Springfield on federal charges of aggravated identity theft, document fraud and firearms violations.

Ledford said the deportation order has not affected the U.S. charges against Maher.

"At this point there is still a federal indictment, and he's still considered a defendant in the federal criminal case," Ledford said.

Messages left with Maher's public defender and at Maher's home in Ozark, where he lived with this wife and two sons, were not immediately returned Friday.


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