A press conference was held Wednesday morning to announce the success of Operation North Star, a 30-day, multi-agency operation led by the US Marshal Service to combat violent crime in 10 cities nationwide.
“We pursued the worst of the worst to bring some hope and relief to these communities,” said T. Michael O’Connor, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Texas. “We wanted to disrupt criminal activity so they could at least suspend, not disrupt communities where they have some peace of mind about where and in which they live.”
Representatives from the U.S. Marshals, Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County District Attorney’s Office‚ Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County Pct. 5 and PCT. 1 and the U.S. Attorney’s Office spoke at the press conference about the joint effort to crack down on violent criminals.
Since the launch of this initiative, law enforcement has removed dangerous fugitives from the streets, terminating the victims and the families of the victims.
In 30 days, the initiative resulted in the following arrests of 152 violent fugitives in the Houston area:
15 arrests for homicide
17 arrests for sex offenders
61 arrests have been made for suspects charged with assault
24 arrests for dangerous drugs
18 arrests for robbery
Officials also noted that numerous firearms, cash and drugs were seized during these arrests.
Federal funding supported the added focus on tracking down violent criminals. A majority of them paid overtime for law enforcement, officials said.
Despite the arrests, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said while there are more than 2,000 people charged with murder or capital murder in Harris County, only about 650 of them are in custody. The others, she said, are on bail or are still considered fugitives.
HPD Chief Finner thanked his department for its efforts and said they would continue to find violent fugitives, bring them in and charge them.
Harris County Pct. 1 Constable Alan Rosen said his constables pursue the toughest criminal suspects, such as those charged with capital murder. Rosen said every time they come back and re-arrest these violent offenders, the stakes go up because the suspects know they’re on their last chance at freedom.
Ogg also thanked all of the agencies involved in the initiative, saying it is a two-part system, and that support and collaborative efforts help prosecutors in these cases.
“It’s gratifying as a law enforcement official to have this support and the collaborative work that we’re able to do with all of these agencies,” Ogg said.
Other cities that were part of the targeted efforts included Baltimore, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, according to the US Department of Justice.
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