A Chicago fugitive characterized in court documents as a "bundle runner" in the West Side heroin trade was arrested in rural Alabama Thursday after the FBI was tipped off that he was hiding there.
Corey Griffin, known on the street as "Fat Rat," was captured in the afternoon at a relative's home west of the town of Brent in central Alabama, said Paul Daymond, a spokesman for the FBI's Birmingham office. Griffin did not resist arrest.
"Citizen tips are very important," he said. "This case and the (James "Whitey") Bulger case show that."
Bulger, a former FBI informant and Boston mobster charged with a string of killings, was arrested Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. after a tipster told agents his whereabouts.
Griffin, 40, had an initial appearance before a federal magistrate in Birmingham, Ala., today and remains in custody. He will be returned to Chicago for prosecution on the pending charges, according to federal officials.
Griffin was considered one of Chicago's most-wanted fugitives and has been featured on billboards seeking information on his whereabouts. This month the FBI and Chicago police offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest, about seven months after he was charged as part of "Operation Blue Knight," a joint investigation by Chicago police and the FBI.
Authorities say Griffin, who lived in Chicago in the 0-99 block of South Mayfield Avenue, was a member of the Traveling Vice Lords street gang and worked as a "runner" -- in street parlance, a low- to mid-level member of the drug operation whose job was to move heroin and cash from one place to another.
The November complaint also names four other purported members of the Traveling Vice Lords and alleges that it was Griffin's job to drop off drugs at another person's house for sale at a specific West Side corner and later return to collect proceeds from the sales.
On July 1, 2010, Griffin allegedly was seen with his codefendants leaving an apartment near Sacramento Avenue and 23rd Street that investigators identified as a stash house where heroin was cut, mixed and packaged. The complaint also details controlled drug buys in which a confidential source bought packages of heroin from Griffin.
Griffin was one of 96 purported gang members charged in "Blue Knight," and one of about two dozen that initially eluded capture.
It was not clear how long he had been at the Alabama location.