Forest Park police ended a nationwide manhunt recently when officers arrested 31-year-old Marco Smith, a suspected gang member accused of federal drug and weapons crimes.

Smith was taken into custody Sept. 26 when officers here stopped a vehicle he was traveling in. According to a statement released by the Chicago office of the FBI, Smith sprang from the car and led police on a foot chase along an embankment by the Eisenhower and onto a Chicago Transit Authority right-of-way near the Blue Line rail.

“The officers responsible for the arrest of Marco Smith displayed extreme bravery in pursuing on foot, a wanted fugitive across a busy expressway and along live CTA train tracks,” Robert Grant, an FBI agent, said in a prepared statement. “They are a credit to the law enforcement profession.”

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court last summer, Smith was under surveillance during the month of April 2008 when he allegedly helped sell some 50 grams of cocaine to a witness cooperating with the FBI. The court document details Smith’s alleged role in orchestrating specific sales and cooking the drug into crack for redistribution.

According to the federal investigator’s statement on Smith’s arrest, 13 other suspects – all believed to be members of the Conservative Vice Lords street gang – were charged as well. Smith, also known as “Shorty,” is believed to be a resident of the 5900 block of West Fillmore in Chicago.

Smith had been a fugitive since December when federal authorities announced the arrest of 11 suspects in the case, Smith being one of the men to elude capture.