Some 833 fugitives were arrested in a series of crackdowns last month in 10 cities with high numbers of homicides and shootings across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, authorities said this week.
Operation North Star II targeted fugitives, violent criminals, sex offenders, and self-identified gang members in cities as far east as Buffalo, New York, as far west as Oakland, California, and to the south in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Monday.
“The results of this operation should make clear that the Justice Department and our partners across the country will stop at nothing to find and bring to justice those responsible for violent crime,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The U.S. Marshals Service, and the entire Justice Department, will continue to work in partnership with community leaders and law enforcement professionals nationwide to protect our communities.”
Director Ronald Davis of the U.S. Marshals Service said the agency targeted the most significant drivers of violence.
“We are confident that apprehending these offenders will bring a level of justice to their victims and contribute to the overall violence reduction efforts in each city and hopefully bring a level of justice to their victims,” he said.
The monthlong sweeps arrested suspects wanted on charges of homicide and sexual assault. The raids netted 181 firearms, more than $229,000 in currency, and more than 160 kilograms of illegal narcotics, officials said.
Among the notable arrests, authorities said they arrested Walter Abbott on Jan. 18 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. He was wanted for first-degree attempted homicide and aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon.
On Jan. 31, authorities arrested Paris Jackson in Buffalo, New York. He was wanted for second-degree criminal in possession of a weapon and for shooting at a police officer, officials said.
On Jan. 20, Gregory Kalvitz and Jessica Downing were arrested in Cleveland for the interference of a custody warrant after taking an 8-year-old girl and fleeing.
Jermaine Westbrook was arrested on Jan. 26 in West Virginia. He was wanted in Ohio for felony assault, murder, and parole violation.
In Northern Ohio, 59 fugitives were arrested for assault, 20 for robbery, 17 for sex offenses, and 14 for homicide, and 188 warrants were closed due to those arrests, officials said. They credited the crackdowns for a threefold increase in the number of violent fugitives taken off the streets compared to the same period last year, authorities said.
“Members of law enforcement remain committed to working together to keep our neighborhoods safe, and a major part of that lies in removing violent offenders from our streets,” Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond said in a statement.
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