WASHINGTON (AP) More than 10,000 fugitives, many wanted for violent crimes, were rounded up over the past week in a coordinated nationwide effort led by U.S. marshals, law enforcement officials announced today.
Officers from 960 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies took part in the search, which coincided with Crime Victims Rights Week.
In northern Ohio, the marshals arrested 487 people, including five wanted for homicide, 17 sought for rape and sexual assault and 140 wanted for narcotics violations. More than 80 percent of them had prior criminal histories.
Marshals also arrested 59 Columbus-area fugitives and 47 in the Cincinnati area during the weeklong roundup.
Among those picked up in Ohio was Danny Casey, 46, of Toledo, who authorities say robbed a bank, carjacked a customer in the parking lot and bragged at a bar about what he did. Following an anonymous tip, authorities went to an area hotel where Casey was hiding only to find it empty.
He was back at the same bank, robbing it again, said Pete Elliott, U.S. Marshal for the northern Ohio district.
Several law enforcement agencies worked with his office for nearly 48 straight hours to finally arrest Casey in Fort Wayne, Ind., Elliott said.
We have a firm belief in the Marshal Service that it s the same people who keep victimizing society, Elliot said. The more accountable you can make those people, the more of those people you can get off the street, the better. We look at it as diminishing the number of potential victims.
The dragnet caught 10,340 people, some of whom had two or more outstanding arrest warrants.
More than 150 of those arrested were wanted for murder, another 550 were sought on rape or sexual assault charges, and more than 600 had outstanding arrest warrants for armed robbery, officials said.
Among those captured were 150 gang members and 100 unregistered sex offenders, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said at a news conference announcing the results of Operation Falcon.
Among those arrested was Eddie Kelly, 24, wanted by Dallas police for allegedly shooting a man five times after leaving a drug house on Feb. 13, and Marcel Baldwin, 21, of Atlanta, who was found beneath a trap door in his kitchen. He was wanted on charges of assault and sexual offense against a child.
Gonzales said more than 70 percent of all those arrested had prior arrests for violent crimes.
We know from history and from the bitter experiences of far too many victims that a fugitive with a rap sheet is more desperate, more predatory, and more likely to commit the crimes that plague citizens and communities, he said at a news conference with U.S. Marshals Service director Ben Reyna.
The dragnet was the largest ever in numbers of arrests and involved local, state and federal authorities, said Marshals Service spokesman David Turner.
Previous coordinated roundups resulted in arrests in the hundreds, but did not involve as many officers or agencies, he said.
For all of last year, marshals arrested more than 36,000 people wanted on federal warrants, and worked with state and local authorities in catching another 31,600 fugitives, according to the Marshals Service s Web site.
Congress gave the Marshals Service more money and authority to go after fugitives when it refocused the FBI s mission toward stopping terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Turner said. The Marshals Service now has five permanent regional task forces to search for fugitives, he added.
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