SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Finding Utah’s most dangerous fugitives is all in a day’s work for a special U.S. Marshals team in Salt Lake City. They track down some of the state’s worst criminals. ABC4’s Brian Carlson went out with them for one of their arrests, in this edition of Behind the Badge.  

Tracking down Utah’s most egregious criminals, that’s the job of Utah’s U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team, or V.F.A.S.T.

“We are chasing the worst of the worst,” said Manuel Scott, V.F.A.S.T. Team Leader, U.S. Marshals Service, District of Utah. 

Led by Manuel Scott for the District of Utah in Salt Lake City, each day they look for violent criminals on the run – gang members, murderers, sex offenders, and others.

“Some of these people get pretty creative in trying to stay off the radar, using other people or family members to help them,” said Scott.

On this day, ABC4 News cameras were there as Scott took the team to find convicted drug dealer Dominic Russell who’d been out of prison and on the run for three months, Scott said and has been hiding out in a set of apartments in downtown Salt Lake.

“She’s on no paperwork with the apartment complex. We got some information she’s staying here, and able to confirm that through video surveillance,” said Scott.

Fortunately, Russell, and those with her, surrendered without a fight. The same was true for another drug dealer, Joshua John Earl, in Murray. The team found him the same day hiding in a home under a mattress in the basement. But they admit it doesn’t always go this smoothly.

“We’ve been involved in shootings throughout the state or where individuals draw weapons on us… we take every measure necessary to try and avoid that from happening,” he said.

Scott said they realize it’s dangerous work, but once they take satisfaction in knowing they’re facing these dangers so you don’t have to.

When Carlson asked how Scott handles the stress of the job, Scott he said grew up in a devout Catholic home and relies a lot on his faith to get through some of the more frightening moments.