NEW YORK – Bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman says he won’t give up his life’s work because of his arrest in Mexico, but he’ll stick to missions closer to home.
“I’m going to keep bounty hunting in the U.S., but not in Mexico,” he told FOXNews.com Thursday. “I don’t know anything else to do. I still have a few to pick up.”
He said he has decided to specialize in crimes against women and children and target those perpetrators.
Last week, a judge in Mexico cleared Chapman, 53, of all criminal charges for his 2003 capture in Puerto Vallarta of a convicted American rapist on the lam. An appeal was pending.
“I felt like I’d had a heart transplant,” Chapman said of his reaction to the dropped charges. “I felt brand new.”
A Mexican federal court charged Chapman, his son and another associate with deprivation of liberty for seizing Andrew Luster, an heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune. Bounty hunting is a crime in Mexico.
Chapman said appeals were “automatic” in Mexico and he’s confident that an appeals court would uphold the judge’s decision.
“I’m an optimist,” he told FOXNews.com. “Mexico is not mad at me. I applaud the Mexican justice system.”
Chapman was awaiting a possible extradition to Mexico and a criminal trial there. He faced four years in a Mexican prison if convicted.
Luster, who was found guilty of drugging and raping three women, had jumped a $1 million bond and disappeared during his California trial. He was wanted by U.S. courts when Chapman caught him and is now serving a 124-year prison sentence.
Chapman was jailed briefly after his September 2006 arrest but was freed on bail. His capture of Luster made him famous and inspired the A&E reality show “Dog the Bounty Hunter.”
Chapman — who just released a book “You Can Run but You Can’t Hide” on Tuesday — said he’ll stay out of Mexico on future bounty-hunting missions unless the Mexican government invites him, and he won’t do any work in any other foreign countries, either.
“I want to stick to America,” he said.