LAWFUEL – Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Christina Pharo, United States Marshal, announce Operation FALCON III (Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally). More than 10,700 fugitives, including 1,659 fugitive sex offenders, were arrested in a seven-day nationally coordinated fugitive roundup led by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) and hundreds of partners from state, local and other federal agencies. Over 300 of these fugitives were arrested in the South Florida area.
United States Attorney Alexander Acosta stated, “We are deeply grateful to the many federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, who, under the direction of the U.S. Marshals Service, were involved in this national effort. With the arrests of 316 fugitives and 66 sex offenders, our South Florida neighborhoods and our children are safer today.”
“This labor-intensive operation has yielded unprecedented results in our District. But even if this nationwide operation saved only one child from suffering the nightmare that a molester leaves behind, then it was a success. FALCON III, along with our past FALCON efforts, provides a clear indication of what law enforcement agencies can accomplish when there is cooperation on all levels—federal, state and local,” said U.S. Marshal Christina Pharo.
Nationally, Deputy U.S. Marshals and their law enforcement partners arrested 10,773 fugitives and cleared 13,333 felony warrants during the seven-day operation, including 3,609 for narcotics violations and 140 homicide warrants. Task force members also arrested 971 unregistered sex offenders and 364 documented gang members. Locally, the Southern District of Florida cleared 325 warrants, which included the arrest of 66 sex offenders and 4 gang members.
In the Southern District of Florida, one of those fugitives was Melanie Munoz, who was wanted in Broward County for failure to register as a Sex Offender and for Violation of Parole. Munoz was arrested in Ft. Lauderdale on October 23, 2006, by a team of investigators assigned to Operation FALCON III. Munoz was on parole on charges that included Armed Sexual Battery, Armed Robbery, Attempted Armed Robbery, and Narcotics. FALCON III investigators developed information on Munoz’s whereabouts. Investigators went to the location and requested Munoz to surrender peacefully. Munoz refused, and investigators had to forcibly enter the residence to take her into custody. Incident to the arrest, investigators found and seized six firearms, including three handguns, two shotguns, and a high powered rifle.
Operation FALCON III received a major boost from the Adam Walsh Act, named after the murdered son of America Most Wanted host John Walsh. The law directs federal resources the task of rounding up sexual predators and helping state and local governments catch convicted individuals who failed to register in communities where they live. The U.S. Marshals Service was designated by the Act as the agency to lead the national effort to track down and arrest these fugitive felons.
“Operation FALCON has once again proven how much we can accomplish with our network of federal, state, and local law enforcement,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “This operation has made our nation’s neighborhoods and children safer by taking off the streets some of the worst sex offenders, violent felons and gang members.”
“These numbers mean safer streets for the citizens of communities all over this country,” said Marshals Service Director John Clark. “We have not only brought those wanted fugitives to justice, but we have hopefully brought a bit of peace to their communities.”
The Marshals Service has photos of actual arrests during the operation available at www.usmarshals.gov/falcon3, as well as fact sheets on arrests nationwide and in each of the participating districts. Dossiers on the “FALCON 15,” describing 15 of the most significant cases closed during the operation, are available at the site. A 10-minute B-roll video package for broadcasters will be available for satellite distribution on Nov. 2, at 2:00 – 2:15 P.M. EST (11:00 – 11:15 A.M. PST) and at 7:00 – 7:15 P.M. EST (4:00 – 4:15 pm PST) at C-Band coordinates (IA 6 T-11 Downlink Frequency 3920 V 93 degrees WL), and on Nov. 3, at 4:00 – 4:15 A.M. EST (1:00 – 1:15 A.M. PST) at C-Band coordinates (IA 6 T-17 Downlink Frequency 4040 V 93 degrees WL).
The success of Operation FALCON III in South Florida was due in no small part to the outstanding cooperation and assistance of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Department of Justice-Office of Inspector General, Housing & Urban Development-Office of Inspector General, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of State – Division of Diplomatic Security, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Department of Corrections – Division of Probation and Parole, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Fort Pierce Police Department, Hallandale Police Department, Hialeah Police Department, Lauderhill Police Department, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Miami Beach Police Department, Miami-Dade County Police Department, City of Miami Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach County Violent Crimes Task Force (consisting of 22 agencies), Port St. Lucie Police Department, and courts at every level of government. Additionally, Operation FALCON Task Force members handled cases referred by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as well as those of foreign fugitives believed to be in this country. The Marshals Service also received support from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) at the Department of Justice. Interpol and the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service assisted in the investigations of persons wanted by law enforcement worldwide. Seven foreign and seven international fugitives who were arrested during Operation FALCON III now face deportation or extradition proceedings.
A complete list of all federal, state and local agencies that participated in Operation FALCON III is available at the USMS Web site, www.usmarshals.gov/falcon3.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.