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A Winnipeg-born man who U.S. police say is one of South Dakota's most wanted prison escapees has been arrested in Manitoba after 16 years on the lam.

Clifford Laframboise, 42, also known as Clifford Thomas, faces an extradition hearing Thursday morning in Winnipeg. He is currently in custody at the city's remand centre.


Clifford Laframboise was 26 when this wanted poster was circulated by the South Dakota Department of Corrections in 1994. ((South Dakota Department of Corrections))

U.S. law-enforcement officials are seeking his return to the Sioux Falls, S.D., prison he escaped from on Dec. 26, 1994. At the time, Laframboise was serving an 18-year sentence after pleading guilty to multiple burglary charges in 1988.

At the time of his escape from an annex of the South Dakota State Prison, the U.S. Department of Corrections says, Laframboise was about five years away from being eligible for early release.

If extradited, Laframboise will have to complete about 7½ more years of his sentence and could face more prison time if convicted of charges resulting from his escape, according to court documents.

In March 2009, U.S. officials approached Canadian officials and asked the RCMP to investigate whether Laframboise had returned to Canada. The results of their investigation are contained in an officer's affidavit viewed by CBC News on Tuesday.

Arrested in 2010

Last year, Laframboise twice came into contact with Manitoba police without them realizing he was wanted in the United States, according to the affidavit written by RCMP Cpl. Grant Smith.

Smith said he started his investigation by comparing a photo of Laframboise on a wanted poster provided by South Dakota officials with one on a Manitoba driver's licence issued to a man with the same name and date of birth. Judging from the pictures, Smith said, he believed it was the same man.

The Clifford Laframboise on the licence had a mailing address in Jackhead, a lakeside community about 300 kilometres north of Winnipeg, Smith said.

A check of a database showed Laframboise had been stopped for speeding just outside Winnipeg in March 2010 and issued a ticket, Smith said.

Another check by Smith months later raised Laframboise's name in connection with a continuing RCMP investigation, according to the officer's statement.

Faces trial in Canada

On Dec. 7, Smith said, he checked a police database once again and learned Laframboise had been arrested by Fisher Branch RCMP last November for a number of Criminal Code offences.

Court records show Laframboise is facing trial on charges including sexual interference, committing an indecent act and sexual assault. The alleged offences took place between 2008 and 2010, the documents said.

Laframboise was released from police custody after his arrest on those charges. He posted a $1,000 recognizance and agreed to conditions to keep the peace and remain in Manitoba.

He later turned himself back in to the local RCMP detachment and was arrested recently on the extradition warrant.