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U.S. Marshals Service

Fugitive Investigations 

In fiscal year 2014, the Marshals apprehended more than 33,000 federal fugitives, clearing approximately 36,800 federal warrants.

Working with authorities at the federal, state, and local levels, U.S. Marshals-led fugitive task forces arrested more than 71,000 state and local fugitives, clearing 89,131 state and local felony warrants.

15 Most Wanted

The USMS established the 15 Most Wanted Fugitive Program in 1983 in an effort to prioritize the investigation and apprehension of high-profile offenders who are considered to be some of the country’s most dangerous fugitives.  These offenders tend to be career criminals with histories of violence or whose instant offense(s) pose a significant threat to public safety.  Current and past fugitives in this program include murderers, sex offenders, major drug kingpins, organized crime figures, and individuals wanted for high-profile financial crimes. Since the program began in 1983, 229 15 Most Wanted fugitives have been arrested.

Major Cases

The USMS established its Major Case Fugitive Program in 1985 in an effort to supplement the successful 15 Most Wanted Fugitive Program.  Much like the 15 Most Wanted Fugitive Program, the Major Case Fugitive Program prioritizes the investigation and apprehension of high-profile offenders who are considered to be some of the country’s most dangerous individuals.  These offenders tend to be career criminals with histories of violence or whose instant offense(s) pose a significant threat to public safety. All escapes from custody are automatically elevated to Major Case status.

Fugitive Task Forces The USMS has a long history of providing assistance and expertise to other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in support of their fugitive investigations.  The USMS is the lead agency for 60 interagency fugitive task forces located throughout the United States, as well as seven Congressionally-funded regional fugitive task forces.  These task forces, staffed by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, target the most dangerous fugitives.

International Investigations



The U.S. Marshals Service has been designated by the Department of Justice as the primary agency to apprehend fugitives who are wanted by foreign nations and believed to be in the United States. Also, the Marshals Service is the primary agency responsible for tracking and extraditing fugitives who are apprehended in foreign countries and wanted for prosecution in the United States. The U.S. Marshals Service, which has statutory responsibility for all international, federal and state extraditions, sees to it that there is no safe haven for criminals who flee the territorial boundaries of the United States.

Sex Offender Investigations Branch The Sex Offender Investigations Branch (SOIB) was created following the passage of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA), which became law on July 27, 2006. The SOIB carries out the USMS’s three principal responsibilities under the AWA:  assist state, local, tribal and territorial authorities in the location and apprehension of non-compliant and fugitive sex offenders; investigate violations of the act for federal prosecution; and assist in the identification and location of sex offenders relocated as a result of a major disaster. To ensure the safety of communities and children across the country, the USMS has implemented an aggressive enforcement strategy for its responsibilities under the AWA.

National Sex Offender Targeting Center The U.S. Marshals Service National Sex Offender Targeting 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 Office to support all levels of law enforcement in pursuing unregistered and non-compliant sex offenders.

Gang Enforcement The USMS Gang Enforcement model is a robust, focused, and cost effective multi-level approach that targets violent fugitives with gang affiliations as the centerpiece of its methodology. The USMS Gang Enforcement model utilizes the extremely effective USMS fugitive task force network to coordinate the efforts and the expertise of various federal, state, and local agencies to execute its initiatives. This approach allows Gang Enforcement to remove violent gang members, weapons, and drugs, from our communities in an effective, focused, and cost efficient manner.

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.

Technical Operations The Technical Operations Group (TOG) provides the U.S. Marshal Service, other federal agencies, and any requesting state or local law enforcement agency, with the most timely and technologically advanced electronic surveillance and investigative intelligence available in the world. TOG operates from 8 Regional Technical Operations Centers (RTOC) and 21 field offices throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

Criminal Intelligence Branch The Criminal Intelligence Branch provides investigative research and analysis in support of various Marshals Service operations and provides oversight of special law enforcement information systems used by the Marshals Service and management of data sharing projects with other agencies.

Financial Surveillance Unit The Financial Surveillance Unit (FSU) utilizes legal process and various sources to track a fugitive’s financial activities in “real time” by analyzing debit cards, credit cards, fund transfers, and a host of other credit and banking transactions and information. Since its inception, FSU has been a tremendously successful tool used in fugitive investigations. is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice