MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When you think of US Marshal’s you probably think of Hollywood films. After all, Tommy Lee Jones always got his man… but his technique may have been all wrong.
“First of all, number one, we never put our finger on the trigger,” explained Amos Rojas Jr.
Rojas is South Florida’s real US Marshal. Appointed by the White House last month after the hardest interview of his life.
“About a two year process for me,” Rojas told Sutta.
Asked Sutta,”Two years for a job?”
“About two years for a career,” replied Rojas.
Amos could have simply retired. His law enforcement career spanned 40 plus years in local and state law enforcement
“I sort of joke sometimes that I should be giving back the government their money because this is too much fun. I won’t do that. But it is a calling. It is a family business,” said Rojas.
“This is the family business?” inquired Sutta.
“It is a family business,” Rojas replied. “Well, let me just say it’s a family calling. My wife’s a state probation officer, my oldest daughter and her husband are Miami Dade officers, my middle daughter’s husband is a Miami-Dade detective. My brother is a lieutenant with the City of Miami.”
There are just 94 U-S marshals across the U.S. Each Marshal governs a region of the country, in charge of protecting prisoners, witnesses, judges, and courts.
Amos gave us a behind the scenes tour of how they do that. Some parts, for security reasons, we can’t show you. But it is impressive. Hundreds of cameras cover the federal courthouse… cameras capable of spotting someone sitting in the Marlins Ballpark.
“Prior to you stepping onto the sidewalk we’re already tracking you,” said Rojas. “We already know your movements.”
It’s a huge responsibility given there is always a threat of terrorism. The other side of the operation is catching criminals on the run.
“That’s the fun part of this job, tracking these folks down who think they got away with it but they didn’t,” Rojas said.
Last year the agency captured more than 100,000 fugitives nationwide. Some of the arrests are fascinating such as James Robert Jones. He was serving a 23 year sentence for pre-mediated murder. He escaped from a Texas maximum security prison in 1977.
Marshals caught him last month in Pompano Beach.
“You can hide for awhile. You can hide for 36-37 years. Sooner or later we will get you,” Rojas said.
He evaded capture by assuming a new identity. The US Marshals exposed him using photo recognition software, a database, and Jones’s driver’s license.
“What is it about South Florida that seems to attract criminals from around the nation, perhaps the world, here?” asked Sutta.
“It’s an international city. IF you are going to try to hide where better to hide than an international city with folks from all over South America, Europe, so on,” Rojas explained. “So I think that what attracts the folks to come visit and folks that live here is probably what attracts some of these folks to here.”
Rojas says he plans to be more aggressive in tracking down fugitives. Especially sexual offenders.
“A lot of these folks, sexual predators and offenders, will continue to reoffend and that means more and more victims out there. So that is a top priority for the Marshal service and it is a top priority for me personally,” he explained.
Rojas appointment is supposed to be for four years but it could go longer or shorter. Politics, which party holds the oval office, has a lot to do with it. He believes his career, his connections in South Florida, will help the Marshal service and law enforcement in general, be more effective.