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Fugitive Max Factor heir captured in Mexico

Andrew Luster at a police station in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Andrew Luster at a police station in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

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Cosmetics heir Andrew Luster, who fled the U.S. during his trial on rape charges, is captured in Mexico. CNN's Charles Feldman reports (June 18)
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(CNN) -- Cosmetics heir Andrew Luster, the subject of an international manhunt after fleeing in the middle of his trial on rape charges, was captured in Mexico by a bounty hunter, the FBI confirmed Wednesday.

U.S. officials are working with Mexican officials to bring Luster to California where he was convicted while on the run.

Luster, 39, is being held in a Mexican jail after a fight outside a Puerto Vallarta nightclub Tuesday night led to his arrest, police said.

In California, Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks said his office would take custody of Luster after he's brought back to the United States by federal agents.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Ralph Boelter said it's not yet clear if Luster will be deported or if authorities will have to mount an extradition process to get him back.

His arrest came in dramatic fashion early Wednesday morning while a legal liaison for the FBI was en route from Guadalajara, Mexico, to Puerto Vallarta to follow up on a tip from an American couple.

The couple had been in contact with Luster while on vacation, according to Boelter, and identified him while sharing vacation pictures with a friend. The couple then contacted bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman and later the FBI, Boelter said.

Chapman found Luster first and was arrested along with four others, including a television camera crew, who were traveling with him.

Police in Mexico are holding Chapman, his two sons and two members of the crew, said Puerto Vallarta police spokesman Sebastian Zavala.

Luster was spotted Tuesday night in a nightclub by Chapman, a Honolulu-based bounty hunter, said Beth Smith, an executive assistant at Duane Chapman's Bail Bonds. Smith also said Chapman detained Luster and then contacted the FBI and Mexican authorities but her story differs from official accounts.

Zavala said police were summoned after reports of a fight outside a nightclub in the resort city on Mexico's Pacific coast. Witnesses reported that the people involved in the melee fled in two sport utility vehicles, which police stopped a short time later.

Luster, who was carrying identification with the name David Carrera, was identified from photographs, Zavala said. Chapman told police his objective was to capture Luster and return him to the United States, and the TV crew was on hand to record the capture of the wealthy fugitive.

According to police, an aerosol solution was used to subdue Luster.

The six are being held while Mexican federal prosecutors and police sort out what happened, Zavala said.

In addition to Luster and Chapman, Mexican police said they were holding Chapman's sons Tim, 38, and Leland, 36, along with Jeff Darren Sells, 35, and Boris L. Krutonog, 41.

Bounty hunter 'Dog' says it's personal

Chapman began searching for Luster January 5, one day after he disappeared from home detention while out on $1 million bond. At the time, Luster was on trial in Ventura County, facing 86 charges for allegedly raping three women after drugging them with GHB, the so-called date rape drug.

Police said they found videotapes of Luster having sex with unconscious women. Luster's lawyers insisted the acts were consensual and that he was an aspiring pornography director. But after he fled during the trial, the jury convicted him in absentia, and he was sentenced to 124 years in prison.

Luster lawyer Roger Diamond said he's already appealed his client's conviction, and disputed that some of the women in the videotapes were drugged and were unwilling participants in the sexual acts.

"They all took drugs together, this was a mutually enjoyable experience," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Luster is the great-grandson of Max Factor, who built a cosmetics empire in the 1920s that catered to the Hollywood movie industry.

Luster's disappearance set off a national and international manhunt by California police, the FBI and bounty hunters trying to recoup some of the bond money.

Chapman, who claims to have captured more than 6,000 fugitives, told Court TV that his pursuit of Luster had become "personal."

"I'm a bounty hunter, this is the number one fugitive in America, and I'm on his ass," Chapman said. "This one has become personal. If one of the victims comes up to me and says, 'Dog, thank you,' that's it. I'm paid."

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