Wednesday, March 20, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Mounties Get Their Man: Satiacum -- Ex-Puyallup Tribal Leader Arrested In B.C.

Times Staff: Times News Services

Robert Satiacum, the former leader of the Puyallup Tribe, was in the hands of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police today after 16 months as a fugitive from Canadian authorities and nine years on the run from U.S. officials.

He was arrested yesterday morning at a residence on the remote Adams Lake Indian Reserve in Chase, B.C.

This morning, provincial prosecutors said they planned to ask that Satiacum be sent to jail in Canada before being deported to the U.S.

Satiacum, who was moved to the Vancouver, B.C., area overnight, was tentatively scheduled to appear in British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver this afternoon.

Crown Counsel Lance Bernard said he would ask Judge Catherine Ryan to sentence Satiacum to at least six months for the child-molestation charge he was convicted of two years ago before failing to appear for his sentencing.

``I don't expect to be asking for anything in particular that takes into consideration his deportation status or lack of status in Canada,'' Bernard said. ``I'll be asking for a sentence that's appropriate for the circumstances of this particular (criminal) case.''

Satiacum faces a lengthy sentence in Seattle federal court for racketeering and embezzlement convictions.

Satiacum fled to Canada from Pierce County in 1982, and became the first U.S. citizen granted refugee status by Canadian authorities. That designation was later overturned in Canadian federal court.

He was appealing that decision when he was convicted in Canada of sexual assault in November 1989. He has been a fugitive since he failed to appear for sentencing in that case, which involved a 10-year-old girl.

Satiacum will face sentencing on that charge and the possibility of additional charges in Canada before being turned over to U.S. authorities, Canadian officials said.

Hours after his arrest by officers from the Mounties' Chase detachment and Kamloops subdivision emergency-response team, the ailing Satiacum, who turned 62 this month, was transferred to the Kamloops city jail to await escort to Richmond, B.C., a Vancouver suburb about 250 miles away.

Canadian officials believe Satiacum may have been living at the Chase home for up to eight months, said Sgt. Harry Danyluk, the Mounties' detachment commander.

Danyluk said the Chase home was under surveillance for about seven hours before Satiacum was apprehended.

Also taken into custody were two men and a woman who were inside the residence with Satiacum; and two females, one a minor, who had left the residence a short time earlier.

``We intend to assure them (Canadian officials) that we're still interested in him, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Wilson. ``There's not a great deal we can do beyond that. They arrested him, and possession is nine-tenths of the law. . .''

Federal authorities here said Satiacum was tentatively to appear today in a Vancouver court, and U.S. marshals said they'll be standing by in case he's ordered immediately deported. If so, they'll take custody at Blaine.

Danyluk said Satiacum, who has a heart problem, was on oxygen and was allowed to retain his oxygen bottle while in custody.

Satiacum faces a lengthy prison term if he is returned to the U.S.

He skipped bail after his 1982 Seattle conviction on federal racketeering charges, and failed to show up for trial in a separate embezzlement case in which he was convicted in absentia.

He eluded authorities for more than a year until his arrest in Saskatchewan in 1983, and began a legal battle to remain in Canada.

In 1987, after serving several years in Canadian prisons, he was granted status as a political refugee from the United States.

Satiacum has maintained he was targeted by the U.S. government because of his work for Indian rights.

-- Reported by Times staff reporters Charles E. Brown and Peter Lewis and by Associated Press.

Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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