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Congressmen Back Bounty Hunter

Twenty-nine congressmen have sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking her to deny the extradition of Duane "Dog" Chapman to Mexico, where he faces charges of illegal detention and conspiracy.

Chapman, who is the star of the popular TV show "Dog The Bounty Hunter," was arrested last month along with two of his co-stars after his capture of fugitive convicted rapist Andrew Luster, the Max Factor heir, on June 18, 2003, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Chapman was released on $300,000 bail the next day. He must attend extradition hearings to face trial in Mexico, where bounty hunting is considered a crime.

"It seems that Mexican authorities are pressing this case only because they are so stung by the embarrassment of failing where Mr. Chapman succeeded," Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, said in the Sept. 26 dated letter signed by 28 other congressmen.

Chapman's capture of Luster, who had fled the country during his trial on charges he raped three women, catapulted the 53-year-old bounty hunter to fame and led to the Hawaii-based reality series on A&E. Luster is now serving a 124-year prison term.

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