LOS ANGELES – The FBI (search) put cosmetics heir Andrew Luster (search) aboard a plane in Mexico and flew him back to California on Thursday, five months after he was convicted in absentia of drugging and raping three women.
The former fugitive arrived in Los Angeles and was handed over to authorities in Ventura County, where he was found guilty in January and sentenced to 124 years in prison. He was being held in a processing center.
The 39-year-old great-grandson of Hollywood makeup legend Max Factor (search) jumped $1 million bail and vanished just days before the verdict. On Wednesday, Mexican police arrested him after he scuffled with bounty hunters near a taco stand in the beach resort of Puerto Vallarta.
Luster's attorney said his client has always insisted that he is innocent and that he had consensual sex with the women.
"If you saw the movie The Fugitive ... you will note that not everybody who flees is guilty," Roger Diamond said on NBC's Today show.
During the flight, Luster had his hands chained to his waist. He whispered several times to accompanying FBI agents and appeared distraught, said Mike Levy, who was on the plane.
"He was definitely blown away. He was definitely going through a bad experience," Levy said.
Prosecutors said Luster took women to his seaside home outside Los Angeles between 1996 and 2000, gave them the so-called date-rape drug GHB, and raped them. Some of the encounters were videotaped.
His attorney is trying to appeal the conviction. An appeals court previously ruled that Luster forfeited his right to appeal because he was a fugitive.
At the time he was captured, Luster was staying at a $34-a-night hotel beside a police station in Puerto Vallarta and had just ordered tacos at a street stall when the bounty hunters tackled him, authorities said.
The FBI said that an American couple who had met Luster in Mexico had tipped off the bureau to his whereabouts and that an FBI agent was already headed to Puerto Vallarta when the bounty hunters reached him first.
Immigration police in Mexico held him because he did not have the proper visa to stay in the country.
The American bounty hunters who captured him -- Duane "Dog" Chapman and four associates -- were also taken into custody in Mexico, where bounty hunting is considered kidnapping. They remained in custody.