Sherlock Holmes, Meet Melanie Morningstar

How a freelance reporter and South Beach nightlife maven tracked down Australia's most notorious fugitive

As it turned out, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Honduras, who had no legal interest in the case but who did have years of experience working with Honduran law enforcement officials, are credited by all involved with serving as the key link between Australia and Honduras, helping with communications and cutting through the legendary red tape.

The Central American country has no extradition treaty with either Australia or the United States, so Honduran immigration authorities took a different tack. They decided to detain Dunn and then expel him as an "undesirable person." Because many international flights out of Tegucigalpa land in Miami as either a destination or connecting point, it made sense for Dunn to be sent to the United States, which does have an extradition treaty with Australia. The only possible problem: Honduran immigration officers by law couldn't hold Dunn longer than 24 hours, so they had to time their arrest in a way that would ensure he was promptly put on a plane to Miami.

Once the legalities were covered, it fell to Morningstar to orient her little coterie of collaborators and make sure her main contact didn't chicken out or fly back to Santa Rosa de Copan. The 60 Minutes crew rented two adjoining tenth-floor suites at the Maya and hid microphones and a camera in one of them. The contact would stay there with Dunn there until a phone call from the next suite warned him to leave.

On the day of the sting, though, the contact, Dunn, and some friends came to the hotel still reeling from a night of heavy drinking. The sting was postponed 24 hours. But then Dunn showed up at the contact's room far ahead of schedule -- while Morningstar was still there. She quickly ducked behind the shower curtain in the bathroom while the contact coolly walked Dunn downstairs for a cup of coffee as the crew frantically set up their microphones and camera.

When the two men returned, everything was ready. Or so they thought. The contact offered Dunn a Scotch, which he accepted. The phone rang, the contact excused himself, and the 60 Minutes crew then burst in from the adjoining room. Reporter Liz Hayes stuck a microphone in the shocked Dunn's face.

"Mr. Dunn, are you aware you're wanted in Australia?" Hayes asked. "Mr. Dunn, are you a pedophile?"

Dunn gulped down his Scotch and headed for the door, dragging on a cigarette and mumbling evasively in response to Hayes's questions. They let him leave.

The Honduran immigration officers, the only people who could arrest Dunn, were supposed to have been waiting in the hallway -- but they weren't. They'd come up the elevator a few minutes earlier, saw nothing, and rode back down to the lobby, where a worried Morningstar sent them back up.

Dunn, meanwhile, strolled to the elevator and pushed the down button. "He must have thought he could just leave town now that we'd found him and he'd be done with us," Harvey says. "Instead the elevator opened and it was crammed full of authorities who arrested him."

Dunn was driven to the Tegucigalpa airport and put on the next flight to Miami. Still in handcuffs, he made the trip wedged between two law enforcement agents. Once here he was assigned a federal public defender. Dunn's court file has been sealed by Magistrate William Turnoff; an extradition hearing is scheduled for early January.

Morningstar, meanwhile, has flown to Sydney for vacation and to reassure her mother that all the traipsing around in Honduras was nothing compared to the work she did ten years ago tracking drug lords in Colombia. Her mother, in turn, will show her all the newspaper clippings in which she is prominently mentioned as one of the people who captured Australia's most-wanted fugitive. But Morningstar plans to be back in Miami for Dunn's extradition hearing. "No way I'm going to miss that," she says.

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