PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A fugitive white supremacist who was called one of the youngest career criminals in Oregon and is now a suspect in a string of bank robberies has been arrested in Alabama on charges of violating probation for a federal weapons conviction.
David McFarland was under supervised release and being monitored from Medford in Southern Oregon before he became a fugitive. The U.S. Marshals Service in Medford coordinated the arrest Monday with the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force.
McFarland, 29, formerly of Grants Pass, gave marshals a false name and fake identification when they boxed in his car at an intersection in the Harvest, Ala., area after surveillance by police officers and marshals.
A search of a house with the permission of McFarland’s girlfriend turned up a gun similar to the weapon used in several bank robberies, along with buckets of processed marijuana, said Dale Ortmann, spokesman for the Marshals Service in Portland.
McFarland was sentenced to eight years in federal prison after his June 1999 conviction for trying to buy a gun with identification from another convicted felon.
His criminal career included a drive-by shooting in Grants Pass when he was only 15, followed by at least a dozen convictions in Grants Pass and Medford after he turned 18 for drugs, assault, theft, burglary, forgery, criminal mischief, car theft, reckless driving and unlawful possession of a weapon.
The prosecutor in the federal weapons case that sent McFarland to prison said he decided against seeking a career criminal designation for McFarland at the time because the gun he attempted to buy with a convicted felon’s identification never left the store. A clerk alerted Oregon State Police after a routine records check.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Thomson told the Mail Tribune newspaper in Medford in 1999 that McFarland was “probably the youngest career criminal that I’ve ever had to deal with.”
McFarland served his sentence at the federal penitentiary in Marion, Ill.
During his time there, he was associated with a white supremacist prison gang known as the “Dirty White Boys” and has both “Dirty White Boys” and “Aryan Brotherhood” tattoos, according to the Marshals Service.
McFarland is the main suspect in armed bank robberies in several states and is described by the FBI as a “serial bank robber.”
At his sentencing in 1999, McFarland wept in the courtroom when U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken imposed the maximum term under federal sentencing guidelines, according to the Mail Tribune.
“I know my life up to now has been in and out of jail (but) I never dreamed I would have got this much time for what I did,” he told the judge.