A Manitoba fugitive who spent more than 30 years on the run before being arrested in Florida earlier this year has pleaded guilty to drug-smuggling charges.

Ian MacDonald, 72, appeared in a Winnipeg courtroom Wednesday morning and offered a guilty plea to one count of conspiring to import narcotics.

The Crown and defence lawyers submitted a joint recommendation of a conditional sentence of two years less one day to be served in community.

MacDonald, who has been in custody at the Remand Centre since he was extradited from Florida and returned to Manitoba in March.

He had been arrested in January after being tracked to his central Florida home but it took some time to arrange his extradition.

As part of the conditions of his sentence, MacDonald is under 24-hour house arrest with the exception of medical appointments or emergencies.

He can leave his home for four hours a week for personal business, if accompanied by a person approved by the court.

MacDonald must also abstain from drugs alcohol and he cannot leave jurisdiction without permission from the court.

In 1980, MacDonald — then known as "Big Mac" — was arrested in Florida on a warrant issued by Manitoba police, who suspected he had helped smuggle a large amount of marijuana into the province.

While in custody in June of that year, he faked a heart attack and was taken to hospital, where he escaped by conning a guard into removing his leg shackles, Barry Golden, a senior inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service, told CBC News in January.

He escaped and lived on the lam for many years, until an officer who had been assigned to the file in 2009 found information in it that led investigators to a home in Pennsylvania, where MacDonald and his wife had once lived under an assumed name.

While speaking with people in the area, officers learned the couple had moved to a town in central Florida, where he was located and arrested.