Using sting operations such as phony job interviews, 18 law enforcement officials in Maryland participated in the FIST 7 sweep that netted 388 fugitives around the state in the last two months, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

William Dempsey, a spokesman for the marshals, said many arrests were made along the Baltimore-Washington corridor and most were for fugitives wanted on local charges ranging from burglary, bad checks and theft to PCP manufacturing and assault with intent to murder. The operation, which began Sept. 20, included 217 arrests in Prince George's County, 89 in Montgomery County and 67 in Anne Arundel, officials said.

Officers from several county police departments, state police, Baltimore City police and the Prince George's Sheriff's Department were involved in the operation, which was headquartered at Fort Meade, near Laurel. The arrests were made on 535 felony warrants in the state, according to the Prince George's sheriff's spokesman, Irv Smith.

The officers were deputized as U.S. marshals, enabling them to go after fugitives in other jurisdictions such as the District, where about 25 arrests were made with the help of the D.C. police repeat-offenders unit, Smith said. A handful of the fugitives were located at jails and hospitals in the area.

From late September until yesterday, the officers worked an average of 12 hours a day, six days a week, according to supervisers. The officers remained on salary from their own departments, but overtime was paid by the federal government, Dempsey said. He said yesterday that most law enforcement agencies in the area are overburdened with warrants, and these multiforce arrest sweeps have proven successful as "an effort to reduce the number of fugitive felony warrants."

Michael Amend, an inspector with the U.S. marshal's office in Baltimore, siad the most dangerous suspected criminal captured in Maryland was Edward Chapparo, 42, who was charged with a double rape and a murder in Scranton, Pa. He was arrested in Salisbury. He added that 53 percent of the people arrested around the nation were considered "armed and dangerous."