It was a bad end to a "home for the holidays" story.

Dr. Abdiel Rivera-Velez was back in his home country, Puerto Rico, just in time to celebrate Christmas with his clan.After the slush of Utah, he was enjoying the blue of Puerto Rico's sky and ocean.

Then those pesky U.S. marshals showed up and arrested him.

It seems there was the little matter of a sentencing before U.S. District Judge David Winder last week. The doctor missed it.

"I'm sure he just sort of forgot about it," joked Steven Mc-Caughey, attorney for Rivera-Velez.

That kind of forgetfulness can be costly. Prosecutors will likely charge Rivera-Velez with a federal failure to appear charge, which could add five years to his prison term.

Ironically, it is the fear of prison that prompted the physician to flee in the first place. "I think he realized he was going to prison for about five years - probably a little longer now - and he just didn't feel like facing up to it," Mc-Caughey said.

So he took a Caribbean vacation. Federal authorities arrested Rivera-Velez at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday outside the U.S. probation office in Puerto Rico, said Deputy U.S. Marshal Steve Weathersby.

He appeared before a U.S. magistrate there Tuesday afternoon. Once federal officials confirm his identity, he will be returned to Utah, Weathersby said.

Marshals focused their search on Puerto Rico immediately after Rivera-Velez's disappearance was discovered last week.

Since his indictment last year, the doctor has been free on a $25,000 bond. He was indicated last year on 30 counts of unlawful distribution of drugs.

He pleaded guilty to five of those counts and faces between 63 and 78 months in a federal prison.

His former boss, Dr. Robert C. Davis, is serving a 56-month prison sentence for Medicaid fraud and mail fraud.

McCaughey wasn't surprised at the brevity of his client's holiday. "The marshals usually do a pretty good job of catching people who aren't used to being on the run," he said. "I knew he didn't have any money. He had no place to go. I'm sort of surprised he got that far."

What's the first thing Mc-Caughey will say to his client when he sees him?

"Don't make any plans for the next five or six years."