Criminal Justice News

Saturday, August 24, 2013

8 Year Fugitive Captured on Tybee Island

Savannah, GA – A Waycross man wanted for Failure to Surrender for Sentence and Bond Violation for a 2005 conviction by the United States Marshals Service was arrested on Tybee Island, Georgia by the United States Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Tybee Police Department on August 22, 2013.

Mark Ashley Griffin, 37, was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service in a warrant issued in 2006 for Failure to Surrender to serve a sentence and Bond Violation. Griffin was convicted in U.S. District Court in Waycross, Georgia for Conspiracy to distribute, possession with intent to distribute, and manufacture in excess of 50 grams of cocaine base (crack). Griffin was sentenced to serve 110 months in federal prison on December 14, 2005. Griffin was allowed to self-surrender to the Federal Prison in Jesup, Georgia on January 17, 2006. Griffin failed to surrender and has been on the run since the date of conviction.

Numerous leads and interviews were conducted over the last almost eight years in Georgia and Florida to try to locate Griffin. Information was generated early on that said Griffin had fled the country to an island that did not have an extradition treaty with the United States. Although this was never confirmed, the investigation continued to try and find him. The U.S. Marshals have a reputation of being excellent fugitive hunters and as good as we are, we are also grateful for a little luck in the form of anonymous phone calls. Griffin’s luck ran out on August 22, 2013, when the U.S. Marshals Savannah office of the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Tybee Island Police department located him in an apartment a 13 Izlar Street on Tybee Island, Georgia. Griffin had gone to great lengths to hide his true identity by using the alias of Dave Van Guard, had grown out his hair and dyed it blond, covered his distinctive tattoos with new tattoos and worked on a cash basis. Griffin had nothing in his name. Griffin had taken on the proverbial “surfer dude” look, totally opposite of his 2005 appearance. Griffin has laid low for the last almost eight years and never surfaced to the attention of law enforcement on Tybee Island other than being seen all over the island. Griffin even taught surfing lessons to the children on the island. An anonymous tip was received by the Marshals Task Force that stated that Griffin was in the area of 16th/17th Streets on Tybee Island. The task force set up surveillance in the area and observed Griffin come out of the Izlar address. Marshals went to the address and arrested Griffin without incident. Griffin was transported to the McIntosh County jail to await his court appearance on the outstanding charges.

Annually, investigations carried out by the U.S. Marshals result in the apprehension of over 36, 000 federal fugitives. More federal fugitives are arrested by the Marshals Service than all other federal agencies combined. In 2011, U.S. Marshals led task forces arrested more than 86,000 state and local fugitives, which cleared over 113,000 warrants.

The Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force has three offices: Atlanta, Macon, and Savannah. The task force covers the whole state of Georgia. The Savannah Office of the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force is a team comprised of investigators from the Georgia Department of Corrections, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department, the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Department, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department, the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department, the Hampton County Sheriff’s Department, and the United States Marshals Service. The task force objective is to seek out and arrest fugitives charged with violent crimes, drug crimes, sex offenders, and other felonies.

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