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Fugitive apprehension teams


By Katie Deska
News staff
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"The marshals service sponsors this special task force," said Aaron Garcia, U.S. Marshals' Supervisory Deputy of DFAT. "We deputize local and state police officers, giving them authority to work as U.S. marshals. We do it as a force multiplier."

Once deputized, the marshals' task force officers have limited federal authority for fugitive investigations, which grants officers the right to work across state lines and charge people federally.

"We continue to search for the guy until he's in custody or until the warrant is resolved. We don't just stop looking for someone. Once we determine it's a task force case, we look for them. Sometimes it's days or weeks or 10 years," said Garcia. "If we've exhausted a lot of stuff, we won't work it as a primary case the whole time, but we'll continue working on it. But we have cases from eight years ago of guys who've fled the county and were trying to get them back."

The task force frequently provides a "fugitive sweep" if there's a high rate of crime in a certain area, whether it's Detroit, Pontiac or Oakland County, said Garcia. "We'll go in there and target. We do fugitive sweeps all the time, maybe on a monthly basis. We do a three-day round up at least quarterly. It's a benefit because we often get several other state and locals with us, from other departments in the area. We may do a parole round up and look for all parolees."

Averaging 273 arrests a day in fiscal year 2015, the U.S. Marshals Service arrested just shy of 100,000 fugitives nationwide, including over 5,000 gang members and nearly 4,000 homicide suspects. They closed nine cases that made the "15 Most Wanted" list, arrested about 11,700 sex offenders who were wanted for sexual assault, non-compliance with the national sex offender registry, and other offenses.

DFAT, a team of about 50 to 55 deputies who focus on the Eastern District of Michigan, has been responsible for "over 25,000 arrests in the last 10 years," said Garcia. "Those are violent crimes rape, drugs, homicide, attempted murder, and include extraditions."

A collaborative task force of law enforcement officials from local, state and federal agencies, DFAT includes officers from Detroit, Dearborn, Flint, Livonia and Sterling Heights police departments; deputies from the sheriff's offices in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne and Washtenaw counties; and members of the Michigan State Police, Michigan Department of Corrections, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Each department pays the salary of their officer, but DFAT covers expenses such as overtime pay, vehicles, equipment and training, said Garcia.

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