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251 arrested in outstanding warrants sweep

PHOENIX – In conjunction with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a collaboration among state, federal and local agencies brought in 251 fugitives in four days.

David Gonzales, Arizona U.S. marshal, said Operation Justice IV is just one way law enforcement is working to clear outstanding warrants in the state and Maricopa County in particular.

“We’re all diligent about trying to narrow it down and reduce the number of warrants in the county, to make this a safer community,” he said.

Outstanding warrants have been reduced from about 38,000 in July of 2009 to about 30,000 today, according to the U.S. Marshal’s Service in Arizona.

In the latest operation, more than 100 law enforcement officers from 30 agencies throughout Maricopa and Pinal counties cleared 325 warrants. The fugitives were wanted for crimes including assault, aggravated DUI, burglary, kidnapping, fraud, theft, weapons offenses, theft and various drug offenses.

“Two hundred and fifty were responsible for thousands of crimes,” Gonzales said. “We feel we prevented thousands of crimes.”

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said that officers in the county averaged 45 arrests per day during the operation thanks to cooperation among offices and jurisdictions.

“The success of this operation cannot be underscored enough,” he said.

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Agencies have worked together on operations similar to this before. Tracy Montgomery, assistant chief of the Phoenix Police Department, said that it doesn’t always take big events to team up.

“Some of the smaller crime situations that we face here in law enforcement, as a whole, we address collaboratively,” she said. “Our efforts over the last week really are exemplary of how we operate throughout the year, communicating and bringing fugitives to justice.”

There will be more operations to round up thos with outstanding warrants, said Matthew Allen, special agent in charge of investigations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Phoenix.

“We want them to remain uncomfortable about being fugitives from justice and fugitives from the law,” he said. “We want them to be looking over their shoulders every day, hopefully hearing the pitter-patter of the feet of law enforcement officers coming after them.”

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1 comment on this story

Apr 24, 2012, 10:16 am
-0 +1

Here we go again. Violent offenders I understand. But how come no justice for the people with all the corruption in our states ranks. The lobbying from banks and universities to our politicians so wages stay low and prices rise. This is a true crime to people. Saying you prevented more crimes is just ridiculous, if they were prevented then why were they on the streets. And they needed to use national crime victims week for this?????How about doing it ALL the time instead of grabbing the limelight with “acclaimed” weeks as this? Now what? Are we supposed to think all the problems in Arizona judicial system and law enforcement are gone? Pat them on the back? For what, doing their job? Come on people.

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Ivy Morris/Cronkite News Service

Officials displayed posters with some of those arrested for outstanding warrants as part of Operation Justice IV, a collaboration of federal, state and local officials in Maricopa and Pinal counties.

By the numbers

  • Fugitives arrested: 251
  • Warrants cleared: 325
  • Sex offenders arrested: 7
  • Assault warrants cleared: 14
  • Robbery suspects captured: 6
  • Narcotics warrants cleared: 114
  • Weapons offenses: 9
  • Firearms seized: 16