U.S. marshals arrested an illicit arms dealer who had been on the run for three years, thanks to tips from readers of The Washington Examiner.
After Sean Gardner was featured as a “Most Wanted” fugitive in The Examiner on Aug. 12, marshals deputies got several calls that led to a girlfriend of Gardner, a 42-year-old D.C. man who has twice been convicted of transporting and dealing guns across state lines.
When the deputies questioned the girlfriend in Prince George’s County, Gardner was not around, said Eric Mellette of the U.S. Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.
The girlfriend told deputies that she also had seen The Examiner article about her boyfriend, but he told her that the story was not true. After the deputies left, she talked to Gardner and convinced him to turn himself in to authorities rather than face more charges, Mellette said.
“It ended up being the perfect tip, and this guy has been returned to justice,” said Mellette. Gardner was at least the 21st fugitive put behind bars after being featured as a “Most Wanted” fugitive in The Examiner. Gardner had been on the run since 2007 when he failed to show up before a federal judge in D.C. He had served two years in prison for a weapons conviction in 2000 and was picked up again and convicted in the District for dealing firearms and ammunition.
Authorities said he is a career criminal whose rap sheet includes arrests for assault, robbery and various drug offenses.
The Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, run by the U.S. Marshals Service, is composed of 30 federal, state and local agencies from Baltimore to Norfolk. The unit has captured more than 29,000 wanted fugitives since its creation in 2004.