Washington, DC

U.S. Marshals Sent Fake NFL Tickets To Fugitives To Trick And Arrest Them

Kyle Schepperley

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Does free NFL tickets sound too good to be true? For most people, they would probably say yes. But for a criminal who might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, it sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

In December of 1985, the Washington Redskins were playing the Cincinnati Bengals. A promotion was being held for a new tv sports station (Flagship International Sports Television) in the Washington area. The tv station sent out invitations to lucky fans who would have the chance to go to a Sunday brunch the morning of the event, and then receive two free tickets to the game.

What the recipients of this too good to be true deal were unaware of, was that these tickets were actually sent by U.S. Marshals who were trying to arrest fugitives. If you received an invitation, then you were most likely a criminal, not extremely lucky like you may have thought. Flagship International Sports Television was not a real company and was actually the Fugative Investigation Strike Team completeting a sting operation.

Once the fugitives arrived, agents would verify the persons identity. After confirming the person was who they said they were, they were led into another room where they were eventually arrested by a team of law enforcement officers.

According to an article by Sports Keeda, 101 fugitives were taken into custody during Operation Flagship. Of those arrested, two people were wanted for murder, five for robbery, fifteen for assault, and one for arson. At the time, it was considered to be the largest mass arrest of fugitives by U.S. Marshals.

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