Steven Charles Durant, North Dakota escapee, caught in Mesa

MESA, AZ - A man wanted in South Dakota for escaping a prison program was arrested in Mesa, Arizona on Tuesday.

Steven Charles Durant, 54, had been wanted by the United States District Court in South Dakota since 1997.

He was arrested by U.S. Marshals and Task Force Officers from the Tempe Police Department.

According to a U.S. Marshals Service news release, Durant was convicted in federal court in South Dakota in 1991 on charges related to unlawful possession and transfer of automatic weapons.

He was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison and ordered to report to a community transition center when he was released.

He did so, but escaped shortly after.

Officials say Durant eluded authorities in several states during his run from the law and Deputy U.S. Marshals have worked many leads trying to find him.

It was just in the past few days they got a lead that Durant was hiding out in Mesa, according to authorities.

He was found at a residence and taken into custody without incident.

The U.S. Marshals Service says Durant was living under an assumed identity.

"Durant's 16 year run as a fugitive ended when he was arrested while doing yard work on an East Mesa home," said David P. Gonzales, U.S. Marshal for the District of Arizona. "Often, fugitives on the lam commit additional crimes to evade capture. This is one of the reasons the U.S. Marshals Service will continue to pursue fugitives until they are arrested."

Durant is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service in Arizona, awaiting extradition.

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