Manhunt technology: from the Unabomber to Osama bin Laden

by Andrew Rosthorn

Working as an undercover spy for the television crime series Crooked Britain, Christopher Guest More poses on his millionaire father's Cheshire farm, a year before he was red-listed by Interpol in connection with the torture and murder of a cannabis grower.

This was Christopher Guest More at the age of 24. The son of a millionaire English private detective is now wanted by Interpol and “red-listed” after the torture and murder of a cannabis grower in July 2003.

He worked undercover as a fixer and spy for famous TV crime reporters and drove a well-known Porsche Boxster on the streets of Manchester.
But after escaping to Spain two days after the murder, he has been on the run for nearly as long as Osama bin Laden.
Cheshire police arrested his father for taking money to him in Spain but failed to catch their man.
Interpol appealed last summer for help from web surfers and social media fans, listing Christopher Guest More as one of their 26 most wanted in their new worldwide Infra Red campaign.

What does it take to run a manhunt in 2011?

On April 3, 2011, as the American Geospatial-Intelligence Agency were observing “patterns of life” in the mysterious Abbottsabad compound in Pakistan and 26 men from Seal Team 6 in Afghanistan were rehearsing their imminent attack on Osama bin Laden, a former forestry service policemen in Montana talked on the phone to a retired FBI agent.

It was the tenth anniversary of the day they caught the Unabomber. They always talk on the anniversary.

Jerry Burns was a US Forest Service officer in April 2001 when he walked towards the door of an isolated shack in the mountains south of Lincoln, Montana, with undercover FBI agents Tom McDaniel and Max Noel. Max was the “trigger man”.

Ted Kaczynski a.k.a the UnabomberTheodore ‘Ted’ Kaczynski, a Harvard graduate with a PhD in mathematics, had been on the run for twenty years, killing three people and injuring 23 in 16 baffling bombing attacks on universities and airlines. He cunningly constructed bombs with misleading components, left no fingerprints, licked no postage stamps and lived all winter in the wilderness, without water or electricity.

The two FBI men had lived for months near his shack, posing as gold miners, after Kaczynski’s brother David had alerted the agency to family suspicions that his long-estranged brother might be the author of the Unabomber’s manifesto, unusually published by the FBI.

In the most expensive manhunt in American history, the agency spent fifty million dollars, offered a reward of one million and yet managed in 1983 to discard an accurate profile from their Behavioral Sciences Unit suggesting the bomber was “a neo-Luddite holding an academic degree in the hard sciences”.

Only the persistence of his brother had made it possible for the three lawmen to reach the cabin on that crisp April morning.

The Forest Service policeman called out, “Ted. Are you home?”  Ten years later, Jerry Burns told Eve Byron of the Helena Independent Record what happened next: “I said we were with the mining company. I asked if he would show us his property boundaries. He said ‘Just a minute’ and went to step back indoors. I grabbed his wrist — he weighed only about 130 pounds because he was living off snowshoe rabbits — and between that and the adrenalin, he came flying out of the house.

‘‘I put a wrist lock on him and Ted was kind of struggling, like you would if someone pulled you out of your house. Tom and I were trying to handcuff him and I told him ‘Ted, you act like a gentleman and we will.’ The wind just went out of him.’’

FBI technology and hundreds of agents also failed to catch the last of the Vietnam War protest bombers. The agency is still offering a reward of 150,000 dollars for information leading to the capture of Leo Frederick Burt, who was 22 in August 1970, when he and two young anti-war protesters killed a researcher in a bomb attack on the US Army Math Research Center at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

One of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted fugitives, Leo Frederick Burt, disappeared after crossing into Canada in 1970.FBI Special Agent Kevin Cassidy has led the investigation in recent years: “Even after four decades, we cover every credible lead that comes in. If we ever catch him it will be due to the hundreds of agents who have been so diligent in their efforts. We will pursue him. This was the largest truck bombing in the country’s history at the time. It did millions of dollars worth of damage and Burt killed someone. He needs to be held responsible for that.”

Retired Special Agent Kent Miller led the investigation in the early years and still serves as a deputy coroner in Madison. He thinks Burt may be alive: “If so, I don’t think he’s living in the United States. And if he is alive he’s got to be worried every day that he’s going to slip up and get caught. That’s no way to live.

“He had a fairly close family. But because he was on the run, he had to sever ties with his brother and other family members. He missed both his parents’ funerals. When he became a fugitive he basically gave up his life.”

Since the inception of the FBI’s “most wanted” list in 1950, ten per cent of those listed have never been apprehended. Leo Burt disappeared after crossing the Canadian border with his fellow bombers.

Allan Thompson, the Madison FBI agent in 1995 said, “I did fugitive work for twenty-three years. In every case I worked, someone in the woodwork knew where the person was. Family, friends – somebody. With Burt, there was an intense investigation of his parents and relatives. Nothing came of it. Not one iota or indication in 25 years that he’s been sighted, heard from or spoken to.”

In Western Europe, the non-governmental British-based agency Crimestoppers, a registered charity chaired by the billionaire political peer Lord Ashcroft, recently used information from Britain’s new Serious Organised Crime Agency to break ground with powerful “wanted” posters for the world wide web.

SOCA supplied a list of 50 persons wanted in connection with serious crimes and believed to be sheltering in Spain on what was once known as the Costa del Crime.

Millions of surfers scrutinised the faces on the Operación Captura page.

The International Criminal Police Organisation announces operation Infra-Red asking people with personal online computers to help them capture 26 fugitives.
Of the 50 names and mugshots displayed on the initial web page, 36 had been arrested by the end of 2010. Spanish police acting on information from web surfers used the new European Arrest Warrants to pick up most of them. Crimestoppers marked successes in red crosses on their web page.

Crimestopper's Operación Captura target poster. No cross yet over the face of Christopher Guest More, third from left on the bottom row.The 36th capture was David Anthony Stuart, 35, nicknamed ‘Catman’ and arrested on a European warrant in Barcelona more than five years after he failed to appear at Preston Crown Court on Class A drug charges.

He had been tailed as he worked as a funeral director in Blackpool and observed moonlighting as a drugs courier in Rishton, Lancashire, wearing a morning suit and driving a hearse. He was brought back to England and jailed for four and a half years in December 2010.

The Director General of SOCA, Trevor Pearce, welcomed the arrest as “another excellent result for our partnership with Spain”.

“It would seem that plenty of British fugitives and criminals still haven’t worked out that basing themselves in Spain is not a particularly smart move. We won’t stop coming after them – and the Spanish Police are more than happy to arrest them and get them sent back to the UK.”

Interpol posted their first “wanted” message in their pioneering 1924 publication "Internationale Öffentliche Sicherheit". They switched circulation of their famous red notices from paper to electronic data in 2002. With 13,500 valid red wanted notices in force in 2007, their American-born secretary-general Ronald Noble told a conference of the 186 member nations at their headquarters in Lyon, France: “We reduced the time that it took for us to get you completed notices from months to seconds. In 2003, we began our efforts to build a secure global police communications system called I-24/7 that connected all of our member countries so that fugitives would have no place to escape INTERPOL’s global dragnet. We completed this effort in 2007.

It is more likely that someone will recognise one of these fugitives from a social networking site or a chat room, rather than spotting them walking down the street.
In 2010, perhaps encouraged by Operación Captura, the International Criminal Police Organisation called an unusual press conference in Lyon to announce an operation called Infra-Red in which they quite simply asked the people of the world, or at least those billions with online personal computers, to help them capture 26 fugitives.

An earlier list of 450 persons wanted by Infra-Red for questioning about murder, human trafficking, rape, child abuse and drug smuggling had been assembled by investigators from 29 countries, including Crimestoppers International, in an exchange of information at the Fugitive Investigative Support (FIS) unit in Lyon. They gathered information on 357 of the 450 fugitives on the International Fugitive Round-Up and Arrest – Red Notices list and eventually arrested 131 people.

Martin Cox, the British co-ordinator of the FIS, was frank about why Interpol wanted help with the shortlist of 26 names and faces: “The operation has been very successful in locating and arresting a large number of these targets, but what we are now left with are the cases where we have no new information on their whereabouts, which is why we are asking for the public to help.

“It is more likely that someone will recognise one of these fugitives from a social networking site or a chat room, rather than spotting them walking down the street, but no matter how a member of the public comes by the information, we would ask that they pass it on.
“Many of these fugitives will believe they have ‘got away with it’ and that they are no longer wanted. What this operation and INTERPOL clearly shows is that this is never the case and that law enforcement will continue to search for these wanted persons for as long as it takes.”

Martin Cox’s FIS can handle information emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , telephoned to Crimestoppers on +44 800 555 111 or lodged anonymously with the Candian-based Crimestoppers International at www.csiworld.org.

One face has always featured on the Infra-Red shortlist. Christopher Guest More, is the son of a millionaire Manchester private eye who used to work as a freelance fixer for reporters on the BBC Macintyre Undercover television programme.

He was 25 in 2003 when he fled to Spain two days after the murder of cannabis grower Brian Waters, 46, who was tortured and killed by several masked men in front of his son and daughter at Burnt House Farm near the M6 motorway in Cheshire.

From time to time, in cases of overriding public interest, the BBC, like other media organisations, works with people who have had criminal convictions in order to expose criminality or serious wrongdoing.
More had posed for pictures a year earlier at his father’s nearby 3.5 million pound farmhouse, stripped to the waist, brandishing a Glock pistol and standing in front of a red Mercedes and his black Porsche Boxster. But pictures had been hidden and the various television firms who had employed him as an undercover operative failed to produce any footage of the wanted man.

His father, also named Christopher Guest More, is one of Britain’s most successful commercial detectives. He was jailed for 9 months after admitting flying to Malaga a week after the murder to take cash and clothes to his son and renting property for cash. The 2004 British court proceedings cost Chris More Senior 350,000 pounds.

Christopher Guest MoreJohn Wilson, 54, and James Raven, 44, were jailed for life for the murder of the cannabis grower who had suffered 123 injuries after being beaten, whipped, burned with acid, attacked with an industrial staple gun, trussed up and suspended head first in a barrel of water.

Raven had worked undercover with Chris More Junior on a BBC Two television documentary series called Crooked Britain. They used hidden cameras and recording devices to expose a counterfeiting plant manufacturing traded American Express travellers cheques with a face value of 3.6 million dollars.

A BBC spokesman said, "From time to time, in cases of overriding public interest, the BBC, like other media organisations, works with people who have had criminal convictions in order to expose criminality or serious wrongdoing. “

Christopher Guest More, backed by cash, and perhaps a measure of tradecraft, has remained on Britain’s “most wanted” list for eight years, without any significant sightings. His appearance on the 2010 Interpol Infra-Red list, Europe’s best effort at running a twenty-first century manhunt, has not yet achieved a breakthrough.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Smith of the Cheshire Constabulary said: “We continue to search for him. We tracked him to Spain and we feel he may still be there. We are now dependent on SOCA for investigations there. Anyone examining the wanted pictures on the Internet should remember that the man may now look very different. He may have grown his hair longer and put on weight.”


 

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1 Comment

  1. Numerous personal things linked to Ted Kaczynski, the “Unabomber,” were sold in a recent sale. Kaczynski, a Harvard educated numerical genius, eventually became an eco-terrorist and sent bombs to his targets via mail, murdering 3 individuals and wounding several more. The auction managed to make greater than $200,000. That is much more than an easy personal loan. Remembering the past for good.

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