Bill Clinton was president and Saddam Hussein still ran Iraq when Ninorka Gisela Sencion failed to show up for her April 24, 1998 sentencing in federal court in Richmond.
Sencion, convicted of possession with the intent to distribute heroin, hid from authorities for more than two decades until she was tripped up by her five-year-old Facebook page under her real name, apprehended in the Dominican Republic and returned to Virginia earlier this month.
She is set to be sentenced on Feb. 21 by U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne. This time, however, she was not allowed to remain free on bond pending sentencing as is being held at the Pamunkey Regional Jail.
Authorities did not immediately respond to a request for the maximum prison term she faces. The case is so old that the original complaint and indictment lodged against Sencion in 1997 could not be viewed on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records for the federal judiciary.
Now 45 years old, Sencion was 24 and living in Brooklyn, N.Y., when she fled.
Available records show she pleaded guilty on Dec. 18, 1997, before the late U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams. She was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond and ordered to surrender her passport.
The day after she failed to show up for her March 24, 1998 sentencing Williams issued a warrant for her arrest.
Brian R. Stalnaker, a deputy U.S. Marshal, said Thursday that Sencion was born in the Dominican Republic and was a legal permanent resident of the U.S. He said initial efforts to locate her in New York failed and the case grew cold.
Last year the U.S. Marshals Service was reviewing old fugitive cases and discovered a Facebook account she created in the Dominican Republic, he said.
While the last posting on her Facebook account was made in 2013, investigators ultimately tracked her down after identifying other persons appearing on her Facebook page who may have had contact with her.
In May 2017, a request to locate and hold her pending extradition was made through INTERPOL. Then earlier this year extradition documents were given to authorities in the Dominican Republic and she was taken into custody on Aug. 21, Stalnaker said.
After extradition proceedings, she was returned to the U.S. by the Marshals Service on Nov. 8, he said. Records show she appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David J. Novak on Nov. 14 and before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roderick C. Young on Nov. 19.
Young set the sentencing date and ordered her held pending her sentencing before Payne.