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U.S. Marshals Service

History -  Fugitive Investigative Strike Teams (FIST)

Fugitive Investigations - Creative Stings 

Operation FIST IX, Fugitive Round Up in the Southwest

FIST 9 included 31 state and local law enforcement agencies from Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, along with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and the former U.S Border Patrol, and the Mexican Federal Judicial Police. The FIST teams, comprised of Deputy U.S. Marshals and officers of the other agencies, operated out of eight U.S. cities and five in Mexico.

During eight weeks of operation and following months of preparation and planning, the FIST 9 teams conducted fugitive investigations from operational sites in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; San Diego, California, Albuquerque, New Mexico; El Paso, San Antonio, McAllen and Houston, Texas; and the Mexican cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Juarez, Matamoras, and Mexico City.

"Good, traditional police work" resulted in the successful roundup of more than 3,500 fugitives in the U.S. Marshals Service's ninth Fugitive Investigative Strike Team (FIST) operation. A total of 268 officers from 35 participating agencies began the fugitive roundup on February 18 and concluded on April 14, 1986.

"The success of this operation demonstrated that national and international cooperation in law enforcement is both possible and is a very efficient law enforcement strategy, " said former Director Stanley E. Morris. ''It also shows that fugitives can run, but they can't hide from justice when law enforcement agencies at all levels work together. "

Of the 3,506 fugitives arrested, 45 were wanted for murder and 22 for attempted murder; 82 for rape; 712 for robbery/burlary; 25 for kidnapping; and 734 for major narcotics violations.

The average cost per arrest in FISTS 9 was $466.

In addition to the arrests, more than $130 million worth of drugs and other contraband were seized. A major drug seizure was made by Deputies working with the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen. Texas. About 860 pounds of cocaine were discovered in a tractor-trailer under a bed of onions. Three people were arrested, and the drugs were seized along with a tractor trailer, car, pickup truck, and a large quantity of cash.


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