The federal prosecution of Frederick Zachs, a successful West Hartford businessman, is unlikely to influence the extradition of his son, convicted murderer Adam Zachs, the head U.S. Marshal in Connecticut said.
The in Mexico after more than two decades in hiding also was unrelated to mounting pressure from federal investigators against his father, said Joseph P. Faughnan, U.S. Marshal for the District of Connecticut.
Zachs has been jailed in a Mexico City prison since Feb. 1.
“This, I don’t believe, has any bearing on that at all,” Faughnan said.
The U.S. Marshals Service and handled the investigation of Frederick Zachs, said David B. Fein, the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.
In a plea deal announced Wednesday by Fein, the 78-year-old Zachs pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in New Haven to harboring a fugitive. He admitted criminal actions that local, state and federal law enforcement agencies suspected but were unable to prove for 22 years.
Zachs told U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis that in 1989 he had a driver take his son to New York. He said he arranged a flight for his son to flee to Mexico and dodge a 60-year prison sentence.
He also admitted he provided a steady stream of money through third parties that allowed Adam Zachs to elude an international manhunt and grow into middle age as a computer repairman in Leon, Mexico.
“I accept full responsibility for what I did,” Zachs said in court.
In exchange for his cooperation, Zachs is not expected to serve more than six months of a possible five-year prison sentence, prosecutors said. He faces a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced Aug. 26.
Adam Zachs, who turned 48 in April, gunned down Peter Carone in 1987 and was convicted of first-degree murder. He disappeared while free on appeal and was captured Feb. 1 in Leon, where he operated a computer repair business, authorities said.
U.S. Marshals also assisted in locating and capturing Zachs. In February, West Hartford police Chief James Strillacci said local connections “pointed us in the right direction.”
“The information on Adam Zachs’ location came to us but I cannot disclose where it came from. But obviously, his father didn’t tell us,” Faughnan, a former major in the State Police, said Thursday.
Faughnan said the investigation revealed others may have supported Zachs financially. He said “we don’t have enough here to go after them.”
“[Frederick Zachs’] issue dealt with the funding,” Faughnan said. “There are a lot of parts that I can’t get into because it’s the purview of the U.S. Attorney. But there are some complications that may have helped the U.S. Attorney come to an agreement with his defense counsel.”
Zachs was represented in plea negotiations by widely known criminal defense attorney Hubert Santos.
“We know [Adam Zachs] got a lot of money. But there is a number of people who may have [helped],” Faughnan said. “The key word is ‘may.’”
Frederick Zachs said in court he sent money using at least two intermediaries.
In his testimony, Zachs said he exchanged letters with his son using an intermediary in Brooklyn. Zachs also used prepaid calling cards to talk with his son on payphones in Arizona and New Jersey.
Zachs, who owns a condominium at 237 Fern St., was freed on $100,000 bail.
Carone, a graduate, was 29 and engaged to be married when he was shot in the back outside the Prospect Café.
In April, West Hartford police and the Carone family to help speed up the extradition. Local, state and federal authorities met a 60-day deadline April 1 to file in Mexico City.
Lieberman enlisted state congressional support and petitioned U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for diplomatic pressure.
Zachs, a graduate, was living under the name of Ruben Fridman when he was caught. He has two children through a marriage to a Mexican citizen, authorities said.
“We have people all over the world fighting extradition to the United States,” Faughnan said. “They don’t want to come back here and face the music so they use whatever means is afforded them.”
Zachs could file appeals blocking extradition a former liaison with Mexico’s attorney general office said in February.
“Mexico affords certain rights and he’s using them,” Faughnan said. “He’s exercising those rights. Does he want to stay in a Mexican jail versus coming back to an American prison? I have no idea.”