SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) One of the state’s most elite law enforcement teams is capturing the most dangerous criminals and breaking arrest records at the same time.
In May, the US Marshal’s Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (VFAST) nearly doubled the usual number of arrests.
In a regular month, the team captures 50 to 60 dangerous fugitives. In May, they hunted down 97 and counting. *UPDATE: Final numbers came in right at 100.*
“Once you get a little grip, you’ve got to run with it so you don’t lose it,” VFAST Supervisor Derryl Spencer said.
Cell phone videos shows VFAST team members in Ogden arresting Gilberto Ruiz Wednesday night. Wanted for a gang-related murder, he’s the latest in a long list of captures in May.
“I’ve had everyone out running non-stop this entire month,” Spencer said.
From Logan to St. George, Mesquite to Vernal, the team captured more wanted violent fugitives in May then ever before. Ninety team members converge from several federal and local agencies.
Spencer says the substantially high warrant arrests are due, in part, to the rising violent crime in the state since 2016.
“We are trying to keep up. This crime is happening, the warrants are hitting, we are being asked to work the cases,” Spencer said.
The biggest arrest was Bradley Moore who was wanted by the FBI after a shooting in Fort Duchesne. After two weeks on the run, VFAST caught up to him in Vernal.
“We are taking a lot of guns off the streets. Anytime you’re chasing someone whose got the propensity to use a firearm, I would classify it as being somewhat dangerous,” Spencer said.
On the last day of the month, VFAST will be out in an effort to reach 100 arrests before midnight.
Spencer said the warmer weather is making violent fugitives more active which makes them easier to track.