For seven years Albert P. Hutchinson III was a courier, carrying cocaine from Miami to Washington and returning with thousands of dollars in cash, an FBI agent said.
After his indictment here in December 1983 on cocaine distribution and conspiracy charges, Hutchinson had been a fugitive, Agent Carol Skiles testified in U.S. District Court here yesterday. He eluded an FBI manhunt until he was arrested two weeks ago in Massachusetts, she said.
But after two of Hutchinson's sisters offered their home as collateral for bail, federal Judge Thomas P. Jackson decided that Hutchinson could be released on a $100,000 surety bond.
Hutchinson remained in custody last night while arrangements for the bond were being made.
The sisters, Janet Whalen and Ann Foley, testified that during the past 20 months Hutchinson spent most of his time near their two-family house in Belmont, Mass., working at odd jobs, though they said he never told them he was being sought on narcotics charges.
"He was a knowing fugitive for almost two years," argued Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Adelman, who asked that Hutchinson be jailed without bond until his trial. "He did everything he could to avoid detection."
"No, he didn't do everything," Jackson rejoined before he set the $100,000 bond and ordered Hutchinson to report daily to federal authorities in Boston. After Hutchinson's arrest, a federal magistrate in Boston had ordered him held without bond and returned to Washington.
According to the indictment, Hutchinson, 42, was part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to import cocaine from Colombia and sell it in many parts of the United States.
Five persons have been convicted in the conspiracy, including Marcos Cadavid, a Colombian drug wholesaler, and Fred B. Black Jr., a former Washington lobbyist. Seven defendants have pleaded guilty.
When Jackson set bond yesterday, Hutchinson's sisters clasped hands and held back tears.