Merkel was arrested at 8 p.m. Wednesday by Berlin Borough police as a fugitive from justice. He had been admitted to the hospital, under the name Darrall Cole, for a back operation, said Officer John Gregory. Merkel has been wanted since Aug. 15, 1985, when he failed to appear for a Delaware County Court hearing in Media on charges of possessing heroin, officials said.
Gregory would not reveal how officials discovered that Merkel was in the hospital.
Merkel also is wanted for questioning in the Nov. 14, 1983, escape from Graterford Prison of Robert T. Nauss Jr., 31, of Darby, Pa. Nauss is a former vice president of the Warlocks who was serving a life sentence for murder, according to a spokesman for the Federal Marshal's Office in Philadelphia.
Nauss and a second man escaped by hiding in a large wood cabinet that was wheeled into a truck and driven away by an associate of the motorcycle gang, officials said. Nauss remains at large.
Merkel also is wanted for questioning by Maryland State Police in connection with the killing of Leo James in Crystal Beach, Cecil County, in July 1985. The death occurred while the Warlocks were in the area, according to the spokesman.