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U.S. Marshals Service

History -  Fugitive Investigative Strike Teams (FIST)

Fugitive Investigations - Creative Stings

"Puño Airlines"

Deputy taking down the airlines sign.

Sting operations continued in FIST VIII in 1985 with free prizes and trips luring over 14 fugitives.  In Miami, "Puño Airlines" was set up and letters were sent to fugitives telling them that they had won a free flight, a weekend in the Bahamas, and $350 in spending money.

A ticket counter was set up at Miami International Airport next to the Air Haiti ticket counter to add to the realism of the scam. All but one of the sting fugitives were arrested in a limousine after being picked up at their residence for a ride to the airport. The remaining fugitive, pictured below, was arrested when he arrived at the ticket counter to board his "flight,"

Fugitive arrested at airport

A fugitive, second from the left, is taken into custody at Puño Airlines ticket counter.


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