WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Ben Reyna, …

WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Ben Reyna, Director of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), today announced that the USMS, working closely with its federal, state and local partners, has successfully completed the largest fugitive apprehension operation in American history. Through Operation FALCON (“Federal And Local Cops Organized Nationally”), which was conducted April 4-10, 2005, Deputy U.S. Marshals and their law enforcement partners arrested a total of 10,340 fugitives and cleared more than 13,800 felony warrants.

“Operation FALCON is an excellent example of President Bush’s direction and the Justice Department’s dedication to deal both with the terrorist threat and traditional violent crime,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “This joint effort shows the commitment of our federal, state, and local partners to make our neighborhoods safer, and it has led to the highest number of arrests ever recorded for a single initiative of its kind. We will use all of our Nation’s law enforcement resources to serve the people, to pursue justice, and to make our streets and Nation safer.”

“This operation, which produced the largest number of arrests ever recorded during a single initiative, would not have been possible without the cooperation of our law enforcement partners on the federal, state, and local levels,” said Director Reyna. “Working together, we were able to take more than 10,000 fugitives off the streets, making our communities safer for everyone.”

Nearly 960 federal, state, and local agencies helped the USMS identify thousands of the nation’s most dangerous fugitives during Operation FALCON. The Marshals Service’s five regional fugitive task forces and three foreign field offices joined forces with their counterparts to put more than 3,000 law enforcement officers on the street during each day of the operation. The members of the task force prioritized for arrest those involved in homicides, sexual assaults, gang-related crimes, kidnappings, major drug offenses, crimes against children and the elderly, and unregistered sex offenders.

Operation FALCON task force members sought foreign fugitives believed to be in the United States, handled cases referred by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and received support from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) at the Department of Justice. INTERPOL and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service assisted in the investigations of persons wanted by law enforcement worldwide. Sixteen foreign and international fugitives who were arrested during Operation FALCON now face deportation or extradition proceedings.

One such fugitive arrested through Operation FALCON is a Connecticut man who was wanted in Hartford for murder and assault after shooting three individuals. While the Marshals Service, the Hartford Police Department, the Connecticut State Police, and the Connecticut Department of Probation actively pursued their investigation, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement determined that the man had fled to Jamaica, where he had relatives. Leads were forwarded to the USMS foreign field office in Kingston, Jamaica, where Deputy U.S. Marshals, working in coordination with the Jamaica Constabulary Force, located him at his mother’s residence. The man is now being detained pending extradition.

“I applaud the achievements of every Deputy Marshal, police officer, detective, trooper, investigator, deputy sheriff, and special agent who hit the street virtually around-the-clock for seven days,” said Robert J. Finan II, the Marshals Service’s Assistant Director for Investigative Services. “Also of note is that during the course of this initiative, there were no serious incidents or serious injuries to either law enforcement officers or those who were taken into custody.”

Operation FALCON coincided with the beginning of the U.S. Department of Justice’s “National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.” During his remarks announcing the results of Operation FALCON, the Attorney General praised the efforts of the participating agencies, noting that targeting violent fugitives provides justice for the victims of those crimes and ensures safer communities. “By taking violent fugitives off the streets and putting them behind bars where they belong,” said Attorney General Gonzales, “we’ve honored the victims and made our streets safer.”

The Marshals Service Office of Public Affairs has photos of actual arrests during the Operation available to press at www.usmarshals.gov , as well as fact sheets on arrests nationwide and in each of the agency’s 94 districts. A five-minute B-roll video package for broadcasters will be available for satellite distribution on April 14 at 2:30 P.M. EDT (11:30 A.M. PDT) and 4:45 P.M. EDT (1:45 P.M. PDT), at these C-Band coordinates: IA 6 T-15, Downlink Frequency 4000 V 93 degrees WL.

A complete list of all of the federal, state, and local agencies that participated in Operation FALCON is available at the Marshals Service website at www.usmarshals.gov .

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