Okay, the part I am trying to understand here is why there were over 10,000 fugitives that needed to be rounded up in the first place and that could be rounded up so easily over a six day period? It’s great that these guys are off the streets, especially if they are predators, but why were they being allowed to just roam around in the first place? Second question is in regards to just who these people were or are…it says that about 1700 were alleged sex offenders….who were the other 9000 people? Were they killers? Were they drunk drivers? Were they tax resistors? This is the kind of news story that scares the hell out of me. This is a huge number of people to be rounded up. If they were all wanted for sex offenses, that is one thing….but it doesn’t seem that they were. Is this the beginning of the bigger round ups we can expect in the future in the US? cd
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 10,000 fugitives, including 1,659 alleged sex offenders, were arrested in a week-long sweep by law enforcement officials in 24 eastern states, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Thursday.
The arrests were conducted October 22-28 in the third installment of Operation Falcon, which Gonzales told reporters was designed to make “sure that there aren’t second or third victims, especially children … by a dangerous fugitive.”
Results of the crackdown came five days before U.S. congressional elections as well as voting on state and local issues in the 50 states.
John Clark, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, said the roundup of the 10,733 fugitives was planned “without regard to any political elections coming up.” He said agents wanted to have the advantage of the warm fall weather, when fugitives are still circulating outside.
Under the Falcon program, U.S. marshals teamed with local law enforcement to capture fugitives accused of a range of serious crimes, from murder to sexual abuse of children, assault, rape, armed robbery and theft.
The previous two fugitive roundups under Operation Falcon — an acronym for Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally — were in April of this year and April 2005. The three operations resulted in the arrest of more than 30,000 fugitives.
Neither Gonzales nor other Justice Department officials had details on how many convictions stemmed from the earlier fugitive arrests or prison terms issued. About 90 percent of those arrested in the latest roundup were related to state and local law enforcement warrants, a Justice Department spokesman said.
The federally organized effort, which involved about 3,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers, has put only a dent in bringing to justice those who have eluded police. Clark said that there are at least 1 million fugitives in the United States.
He said during an average week, police arrest about 1,000 fugitives nationally.
But Gonzales said the project targeted the “worst-of-the-worst fugitive felons in the country.” Those included more than 100 who were wanted for murder and 364 gang members.
While no law enforcement officers were injured during last week’s operation, officials said a murder suspect near Atlanta was killed when he apparently showed a weapon. In northern Florida, the mother of a suspect fired shots at police.
More than half of the fugitives initially arrested on sex charges were unregistered sex offenders. A new federal law was enacted last summer to focus U.S. funds on rounding up sexual predators.