CLARKSBURG, W. Va. – The man who was captured in Mexico after escaping from FCI Morgantown has plead not guilty in federal court.
Eugene Nicholas Cobbs, 43, entered the plea Friday at his arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Kaull.
Cobbs is facing one count of escaping from a federal correctional institution. If convicted, he faces a potential fine of $250,000 and up to an additional five years in prison to go along with the current 151 month sentence he is serving.
A convicted felon known for crash-landing a plane with a quarter-ton of cocaine on board in Wheeling on December 18, 2004 and escaping from a Federal Correctional Institution in Morgantown on April 10, 2013, appeared in Clarksburg federal court Friday.
Cobbs escape from FCI Morgantown was not the first instance of him fleeing to Mexico. This is not the first time Cobbs has fled to Mexico to avoid capture.
He was piloting the plane in 2004 when he crashed near the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport and immediately fled the scene. Authorities investigating the crash discovered 525 pounds of cocaine worth approximately $24 million. This was the largest amount of narcotics ever located in West Virginia at the time.
He fled to Guadalajara, Mexico, where he lived under a false identity in 2004 after he was not arrested immediately following his indictment, avoiding arrest for four years before he was caught in 2008. He was then convicted in 2010 for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and piloting an aircraft without a license.
After Cobbs escaped from FCI Morgantown April 10, 2013, authorities say he caught a bus to Philadelphia. In September 2013, U.S. Marshals discovered Cobbs had crossed the border into Mexico.
Cobbs used false names and lived in multiple locations to remain elusive. Upon his arrest, he initially provided a fictitious name, but was later positively identified and deported by Mexican authorities.
Once back in the states, U.S. Marshals arrested Cobbs at Los Angeles International Airport upon his arrival who then sent him back to West Virginia.
He is currently being held at North Central Regional Jail. However, authorities intend to place him at USP Hazelton when a bed becomes available.
A trial for Cobbs has been set for 9:30 a.m. on September 9.