A FIST for Fugitives


U.S. Attorney General William French Smith called it "the largest and most successful fugitive man hunt in U.S. history." The description seemed no exaggeration: over the past two months, more than 3,000 career criminals in eight East Coast states have been arrested for offenses ranging from murder to narcotics to weapons violations. The top-secret operation, called FIST 7, followed six similar dragnets conducted by the Justice Department's Federal Investigative Strike Teams program launched in 1979.

Authorities used elaborate scams to smoke out the wiliest fugitives. In New York City, a "Brooklyn Bridge Delivery Service" mailed invoices to criminals' last known addresses, advising...

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