U.S. Marshals Task Force targets fugitives hiding in plain sight

Escaped inmate Christopher Reyna arrested Thursday

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Much of the effort to capture escaped inmate Christopher Reyna was lead by the U.S. Marshal Service Regional Fugitive Task Force. The force is a federal entity that often tracks down local suspects who are hiding in plain sight.

Southwest Payne Avenue in Port St. Lucie is a typically quiet street - until Wednesday night.

"I had no idea they lived there until tonight," said resident Don Brant, who has lived on the street for a decade.

Multiple law enforcement agencies - led by the U.S. Marshal Service Regional Fugitive Task Force - converged on the area, looking for Reyna.

"When you're going after the worst of the worst, you have to be the best of the best," said Martin County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Joe Kakufka, who was a member of the Fugitive Task Force for four years.

Sgt. Kakufa says when the Task Force is on someone's trail, that trail is rarely lost - even if that someone is hiding in plain sight. "People are creatures of habit and they'll always go home at some point," he said.

Where as a law enforcement officer on the street can only do so much investigating and intelligence gathering, Task Force members can dig deeper. They can spend more time staking someone out, learning more about a high-risk fugitive's behavior, background and associates.

"There's a greater sense of accomplishment when you're actually hunting another person," said Sgt. Kakufka.

In Reyna's case, the Task Force's trail ended with an arrest by the Martin County Sheriff's Office. The apprehension came as a relief for Don Brant and other Southwest Payne Avenue residents who just learned that Reyna may have been their neighbor for months. "People next door didn't know," said Brant. "It happens. People do a good job keeping a low profile."



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