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U.S. Marshals Service

History -  Fugitive Investigative Strike Teams (FIST)

Fugitive Investigations - Creative Stings 

One of the successful stings was a simple scam called "Mr. Zip." 

Playing his role as Mr. Zip.

Playing the role as "Mr. Zip", a deputy knocks on a door of a fugitive's house.

A Deputy Marshal from the Western District of Virginia, devised the plan to pose as a mailman when he saw how freely mail carriers moved throughout the neighborhood without being questioned. Dressed as a mailman, he would walk up to the door of the fugitive's last known address, carrying a mailbag, a package, and a clipboard. He was wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying his gun concealed.  On the receipt for the package, the deputy had a written description of the fugitive to double check the identification the person had to present to claim the package.

When he was sure that the person was a wanted fugitive, he would tip his hat to signal the team to move in. 


FIST Operations


Nine FIST operations were conducted between 1981-1986 and were responsible for more than 14,700 arrests.  The fugitives' criminal records included murder, robbery, kidnapping, drug trafficking and counterfeiting, among others.

FIST operations took place in Florida, California, the New England states, Washington D.C., Michigan and the Southwest United States

Sting Operations:

Although most of the arrests in FIST Operations were made through good, hard, traditional investigations, the strike teams also devised creative "stings" to trick some of the fugitives: is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justicee