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U.S. Marshals Service

History -  Fugitive Investigative Strike Teams (FIST)

Fugitive Investigations - Creative Stings

Operation FIST IV

The fourth Fugitive Investigation Strike Team focused on fugitives in the Washington, D.C. area, with the arrest of 614 major fugitives. The operation, which was conducted jointly by the United States Marshals Service and the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, utilized a team of 29 officers and employees from the Special Operations Division of the Metropolitan Police Department and 30 Deputies and employees from Fugitive Apprehension Squads around the country. It was coordinated by U.S. Marshals Inspectors from the former Enforcement Operations Division.

The police officers were deputized as Special Deputy United States Marshals to enable them to pursue fugitives outside the District of Columbia.

This special enforcement project began undercover investigations in early September 1982 which concluded 10 weeks later, successfully clearing 755 outstanding warrants. Of the fugitives taken into custody, 50 percent had been sought for crimes of violence and/or narcotics violations. An additional 126 subjects were arrested for burglary or larceny believed to be narcotic related. The remaining 172 fugitives were apprehended on a variety of felony warrants for offenses such as auto theft, embezzlement, forgery, mail theft and fraud.

Former Attorney General William French Smith, in a special November 22, 1982 press conference announcing the conclusion of FIST IV, praised Marshals Service personnel and D.C. Police Officers for their excellent planning and execution of the detail. He added, 'The outstanding cooperation and expertise developed and executed by these two agencies in this endeavor should be another signal to the criminal element in this country that the entire law enforcement community, be it state, federal or a combination, is indeed capable and willing to wage and win the war against violence in our society."


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