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U.S. Marshals Service

Fact Sheets


Fugitive Operations

  • The U.S. Marshals Service is the federal government’s primary agency for fugitive investigations.
  • The agency holds all federal arrest warrants until execution or dismissal.
  • In fiscal year 2011, the Marshals apprehended more than 36,200 federal fugitives, clearing approximately 39,400 felony warrants.
  • U.S. Marshals task forces combine the efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to locate and arrest the most dangerous fugitives. They also serve as the central point for agencies to share information on fugitive matters.
  • The U.S. Marshals currently lead 75 district fugitive task forces and seven Congressionally-funded regional fugitive task forces dedicated to investigating violent crime and locating and apprehending wanted criminals.
  • Marshals-led district task forces arrested 86,400 state and local fugitives in FY 2011, clearing approximately 113,300 state and local felony warrants.
  • The seven regional fugitive task forces are located in New York/New Jersey, the National Capital area, the Southeast, Florida/Caribbean, the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes and the Pacific Southwest.
  • The agency also leads ad-hoc task forces in special cases — such as when an inmate escapes from prison.
  • The U.S. Marshals Service works with the international law enforcement community to apprehend fugitives abroad as well as to seek foreign fugitives living or residing in the United States. In FY 2011, the Marshals coordinated 894 extraditions and deportations.
  • The Marshals provide assistance, expertise and training on fugitive matters to federal, state, local and international agencies.
  • The agency has four foreign field offices in Jamaica, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia. The U.S. Marshals work closely with law enforcement agencies along the borders of Mexico and Canada and with the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. The agency also holds key positions at Interpol.
  • The Marshals use both traditional methods and sophisticated technologies for fugitive investigations, including tactical equipment, electronic surveillance and aerial surveillance. Tactical equipment includes covert audio and video alarms and sensors; digital, narrowband, encrypted wireless communications; and radio and satellite communications equipment, such as tactical repeaters, base stations and portable tower trailers.

“15 Most Wanted” Fugitive Program

  • The U.S. Marshals “15 Most Wanted” fugitive program draws attention to some of the country’s most dangerous and high-profile fugitives. These felons tend to be career criminals with histories of violence, and they pose a significant threat to public safety.
  • “15 Most Wanted” fugitives can include murderers, sex offenders, major drug kingpins, organized crime figures and individuals wanted for high-profile financial crimes. They are generally considered the “worst of the worst.”
  • “15 Most Wanted” fugitives can be Marshals cases, task force cases from other federal agencies, state/ local cases adopted by task forces or cases from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
    Sex Offender Operations
  • Under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, the U.S. Marshals Service:
  • Assists state, local, tribal and territorial authorities in the location and apprehension of noncompliant sex offenders
  • Investigates violations of the criminal provisions of the Adam Walsh Act
  • Identifies and locates sex offenders displaced as a result of a major disaster
  • In FY 2011, the Marshals:
  • Apprehended 12,144 sex offenders
  • Initiated 2,720 investigations, issued 730 warrants for registration violations and arrested 586 fugitives for other violations of the Adam Walsh Act
  • The Marshals National Sex Offender Targeting Center is an interagency intelligence and operations center that supports the identification, investigation, location, apprehension and prosecution of noncompliant, unregistered fugitive sex offenders.
  • The center collaborates with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Department of Justice’s Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) Office to support all levels of law enforcement in pursuing unregistered and noncompliant sex offenders.
  • Analysts conduct behavioral assessments and provide psychological insights into the minds of suspects and offenders to assist Marshals investigators in identifying and apprehending non-compliant sex offenders. The center also assists outside law enforcement with cold case reviews, including solved or unsolved homicides in which the murder appears to be sexually motivated.

Gang Operations

  • The U.S. Marshals Service targets violent fugitives with gang affiliations in support of the Department of Justice’s priority of fighting gang violence.
  • The existing Marshals network of 82 task forces is used for gang operations.
  • The Marshals arrested more than 5,000 gang members in FY 2011.
  • The USMS also is a key member of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhood’s Anti-Gang Training Program, National Gang Targeting, Enforcement, and Coordination Center, and the National Gang Intelligence Center.

Financial Surveillance

  • Financial surveillance is an investigative tool that identifies funds and assets used by fugitives to conduct criminal activity and avoid apprehension.
  • Financial surveillance investigators are able to find and track a fugitive’s financial transactions as well as identify aliases and new identities.

Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force

  • The Marshals Service is one of seven federal agencies that are members of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, the main element of the Attorney General’s drug-supply reduction strategy.
  • The task force targets major drug-trafficking and money-laundering organizations, works to eliminate the financial infrastructure of drug organizations and conducts nationwide investigations against all the related parts of the targeted organizations.
  • When U.S. Marshals provide assistance pre-takedown, 95 percent of targets are arrested, compared to 65 percent when the Marshals are not involved.

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Revised Dec. 07, 2011 is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice