225th Anniversary Banner

For Immediate Release

September 24, 2014 James Badway, Deputy U.S. Marshal
District of New Mexico (505) 462-2333
U.S. Marshals Celebrate 225 Years of Service
Nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency continues to build on its legendary origins and extraordinary reputation

Albuquerque, NM - Today the U.S. Marshals Service celebrates its 225th anniversary. As the nation’s oldest, most versatile federal law enforcement agency, it continues to build on its legacy of steadfast service and its unique position in the country’s federal justice system.

Two hundred and twenty-five years ago, on September 24, 1789, President George Washington signed into law Senate Bill Number One, which later developed into the Judiciary Act of 1789. This Act established the federal judicial system and created the Office of the United States Marshal. Only two days later, President Washington nominated the first United States Marshals responsible for enforcing the nation's laws and carrying out the orders of its courts. “When President George Washington appointed the first 13 U.S. Marshals Sept. 24, 1789, his pen marked the creation of an agency that has since played a role in virtually every facet of the nation’s federal judiciary during times of crisis and times of peace,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton.

Since then, United States Marshals and their deputies have participated in many events that shaped the development of our federal system of government. For more than half a century, Marshals and their deputies were the only civilian police power available to assist the President, the Congress, and the courts in upholding the rule of law in our rapidly expanding country. The Territory of New Mexico was established in 1850 as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after the Mexican-American War. John Jones became the first New Mexico Territorial Marshal on March 12, 1851, after confirmation by the U.S. Senate. The United States District Court for New Mexico was established in 1910, and New Mexico attained statehood on January 6, 1912. United States Marshal Creighton M. Foraker served as the first U.S. Marshal for the District of New Mexico until August 20, 1912. In all, there have been 34 United States Marshals in New Mexico; 13 in the Territory of New Mexico and 21 in the District of New Mexico. The current United States Marshal for the District of New Mexico is Marshal Conrad Candelaria, he was appointed August 25, 2010.

As American pioneers pushed to the West, U.S. Marshals faced grave dangers and constant hardship on the frontier. They later maintained social order and facilitated the difficult tasks following the Civil War. During the territorial conflict known as the Lincoln County War, the U.S. Marshal found there were deputies trying to enforce the law from both sides. Among the names were Patrick Garrett and William Brady, but little known was that the famous outlaw Billy the Kid actually served as a special deputy U.S. marshal for a short period in early 1878. “From upholding the law in our untamed western territories to tracking and apprehending the most notorious fugitives, the U.S. Marshals Service has been committed to answering the call of our great nation for justice,” said Hylton

Perhaps the most resounding effect of the Lincoln County War was the Posse Comitatus Act, which forbade military forces from being installed under the command of civilian units in domestic situations. It was this Act that provided for the U.S. Marshals to take a vital role in enforcing provisions of the Civil Rights Act during the turbulent years of the 1960s. With the installation of specialized programs, deputy U.S. marshals have naturally increased their core duties. During two centuries of service to our country, more than 250 United States Marshals and Deputy Marshals have died in the line of duty. Their supreme sacrifice reveals the great personal risks that U.S. Marshals continue to accept each day. Deputy U.S. Marshals from the territory or state of New Mexico who have made that supreme sacrifice include:

  • Deputy Marshal Robert Olinger, April 28, 1881 - Deputy Marshal Robert Olinger and Deputy James Bell of the Lincoln County, New Mexico, Sheriff's Department, were shot and killed during an escape attempt by the notorious outlaw Billy the Kid. The suspect was later successfully pursued and shot.
  • Deputy Marshal Tom C. Hall, March 18, 1886 - Deputy Marshal Tom C. Hall was shot and killed near Santa Fe, when he encountered several men who had abducted a 15-year-old girl and stolen two horses.
  • Deputy Marshal William H. Guyse, April 23, 1896 - Deputy Marshal William Guyse was shot and killed while attempting to arrest three suspects in Lincoln County, New Mexico. The suspect who shot him was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
  • Deputy Marshal Colby S. Farrar, October 7, 1939 - Deputy Marshal Farrar was killed in an automobile accident near Deming, New Mexico, while transporting a prisoner from Tucson, Arizona, to Abilene, Texas.

Today, United States Marshals are engaged in virtually every federal law enforcement initiative. Marshals provide for the security of federal courts, including the protection of judges, witnesses, jurors, and other court personnel. The United States Marshals Service for the District of New Mexico provides judicial security at the five federal courthouses in New Mexico cities of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Farmington, Las Cruces and Roswell.

Deputies with the Marshals Service play a major role in the pursuit and capture of fugitives from justice, and federal prisoners awaiting trial or sentencing are entrusted to their custody. They also operate the Witness Protection Program, which is responsible for protecting persons who testify for the government in major criminal cases.

The United States Marshals Service is also tasked with ensuring compliance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. All sex offender investigations in the District of New Mexico are facilitated by the Districts Sex Offender Investigations Coordinator (SOIC). The Sex Offender Investigations Coordinator (SOIC) is the Point of Contact for non-compliant sex offender related issues within the District. The SOIC works closely with local, state, tribal and territorial authorities in the location and apprehension of non-compliant sex offenders. The SOIC investigates violations of 18 U.S.C 2250 (Failure to Register) and assists with identification of sex offenders relocated as a result of a major disaster. The SOIC also responds to requests for assistance from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

In one of their most important current functions, U.S. Marshals administer the program under which the assets and profits of drug traffickers are seized, managed, and sold. The proceeds from such sales are used in our Nation's fight against crime and drug abuse. During fiscal year 2014 the District of New Mexico managed 578 assets valued at $9,455,289.03 as part of the Asset Forfeiture program in NM.

Specifically in New Mexico the United States Marshals Service operates the South West Investigative Fugitive Team or “SWIFT” Task Force. The SWIFT Task Force’s main objectives are investigating, arresting, and referring for prosecution or detention, some of the most violent fugitives in the State of New Mexico. Since 2008 the SWIFT Task Force has apprehended 9,506 fugitives wanted by Federal, Tribal, State, and local authorities.

The Marshals Service SWIFT task force operates throughout New Mexico and has a main office in Albuquerque and sub offices in Santa Fe, Farmington, Roswell, and Las Cruces. Each office works with local law enforcement agencies and has representatives of those agencies on the task force full time called Task Force Officers (TFOs). The TFOs are special deputized as Deputy Marshals and work local, state, and federal cases alongside Deputy Marshals. The task force travels all over the state of New Mexico tracking down violent fugitives. The Marshals Service task force often works local and state cases that are referred to the Marshals by smaller, local agencies that don’t have the resources or jurisdiction to travel around NM to track down their fugitives.

An unfailing respect for the rule of law and the rights of individual Americans has motivated the courageous men and women of the United States Marshals Service throughout its history. Their legacy of personal sacrifice and public service merits the appreciation of every American. “As we mark 225 years of service, our men and women stand ready to continue that commitment,” said Hylton.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.


America’s Oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency