U.S. Marshals Arrest More Than 6,000 Murder Suspects in 2021, Over 84,000 Fugitives Apprehended
The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) arrested 84,247 fugitives (27,399 on federal and 56,848 on state and local warrants) in Fiscal Year 2021. On average, the agency arrested 337 fugitives per day (based on 250 operational days).
That number breaks down as follows:
- Sex offenders – 10,510 (Sex offenses include sexual assault, failure to register/noncompliance with the national sex offender registry and other offenses.)
- Gang members – 6,240
- Homicide suspects – 6,119
- International/foreign fugitives – 1,239 (A foreign fugitive is wanted by a foreign nation and believed to be in the United States.)
- Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Program (OCDETF) fugitives – 1,002 (OCDETF cases combine the resources and expertise of numerous federal agencies to target drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.)
- Adam Walsh Act violations – 278 (The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA) categorized sex offenders into a three-tiered system based on the crime committed and requires offenders to maintain their registration information accordingly. For example, Tier 3 offenders – the most serious – must update their whereabouts every three months with lifetime registration requirements.)
- “15 Most Wanted” fugitives – 1
- Additionally, the USMS seized 7,028 guns during numerous violence reduction and counter gang operations in FY21.
“The outstanding work this year by the U.S. Marshals Service exemplifies that the Department of Justice has no higher priority than keeping our communities safe,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco.
The number of warrants cleared nearly always exceeds the number of arrests in a given year because fugitives are often wanted on numerous warrants, and a single arrest can clear them all at once.
- Total warrants cleared by USMS arrests: 99,607
- State and local warrants – 64,565
- Federal warrants – 35,042
The USMS has a long history of providing assistance and expertise to other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in support of their fugitive investigations. The USMS leads 56 fugitive task forces (representing more than 1,500 law enforcement agencies) throughout the United States and eight congressionally-funded regional fugitive task forces. Staffed by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, USMS-led task forces target the most dangerous fugitives.
The USMS established the 15 Most Wanted Fugitive Program in 1983 in an effort to prioritize the investigation and apprehension of high-profile offenders considered to be some of the country’s most dangerous fugitives – typically career criminals with histories of violence who pose a significant threat to public safety and have remained on the lam for months or years.
On Oct. 6, 2021, the USMS made a 15 Most Wanted fugitive arrest of Jory Worthen, wanted in Camden, Arkansas, for two homicides in June 2019. Worthen was accused of murdering his girlfriend Alyssa and her 4-year-old son Braydon. Immediately after the murders, Worthen fled in Alyssa’s vehicle, which was later found abandoned in a parking lot in Seattle. The investigation led to Burbank, California, where Worthen was located and arrested after a short foot pursuit. He was extradited back to Arkansas where, in September, Worthen accepted a plea deal that includes never being eligible for parole. As part of the agreement, Worthen pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder. He is serving two concurrent life sentences.
July 27, 2021, marked the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA), which established the USMS as the lead federal agency for sex offender violations. The agency created the Sex Offender Investigations Branch to direct and coordinate the implementation of its primary responsibilities under the AWA – assisting state, local, tribal and territorial authorities in the location and apprehension of non-compliant and fugitive sex offenders; investigating violations of the AWA for federal prosecution; and assisting in the identification and location of sex offenders relocated as a result of a major disaster. In 2021, USMS arrested 278 sex offenders for violating the conditions of their criminal convictions.
In May 2015, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) was passed and clarified the USMS’ discretionary authority to support law enforcement requests for assistance on any missing child cases. As such, the USMS assists state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies, upon request, in locating and recovering missing children, while focusing agency resources on “critically missing child” cases – those that involve a suspected crime of violence or where factors are identified by law enforcement that indicates an elevated risk to a missing child.
In 2021, the Marshals assisted with the recovery of 950 “critically missing children,” an approximate 145% increase over FY 2020.
The USMS also conducted 591 international removals (extraditions, deportations, and expulsions).