TRENTON — Enrique Silva spent more time on the run than he would have spent in custody if he hadn't escaped from a now-demolished prison 23 years ago.

But he'll now spend more time in custody after being nabbed by federal authorities in Florida.

Silva was sentenced to serve between 8 and 20 years on drug possession and distribution charges before he escaped from the old Riverfront State Prison in Camden in May of 1995, according to the US Marshal's Office.

He was sentenced for one count of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and one count of manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a controlled dangerous substance.

Since his escape, Silva has been pursued on the state and federal level. But marshals said investigators identified a female acquaintance living in a home in Florida. Last Thursday, marshals staking out the home saw a "grey-bearded man fitting Silva's description walking in and out of the residence," the Marshal's office said.

The description given of Silva is a far cry from the image still on the New Jersey Department of Corrections website, which shows a much younger man with a brown beard and full head of brown hair.

"At 10 a.m. on the morning of March 8, the decision was made to enter the residence and, upon entry, the grey-bearded man ran out the back door in vain. This time .... Enrique Silva ran into the awaiting arms of law enforcement," the Marshals office said.

Juan Matos, US Marshal for the District of new Jersey, said the investigation was "the direct result of the collaborative efforts and vital relationship of the member agencies of our regional task forces, both here in New Jersey and Florida."

"I am grateful that this individual is in custody, no longer a threat to our communities," Matos said.

Silva was originally taken into custody on Feb. 17, 1989, before his escape six years later, according to the Department of Corrections. He is now awaiting extradition back to New Jersey, though his former prison was demolished to make room for a development project in the area.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or

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