Operation North Star: Marshals arrest 1,500 violent criminals including 406 in New York City

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Thursday, July 7, 2022
406 NYC arrests among 1,500 in U.S. crackdown on outstanding warrants
More than 1,500 dangerous criminals were arrested as part of a nationwide sweep dubbed Operation North Star, the Justice Department announced. Darla Miles has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- More than 1,500 dangerous criminals were arrested as part of a nationwide sweep dubbed Operation North Star, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

The 30-day program led by the U.S. Marshals targeted violent criminals, sex offenders, and self-identified gang members in New York City, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Specifically, they targeted violent criminals wanted on various charges, including 230 for homicide and 131 for sexual assault.

In addition, investigators seized 166 firearms, more than $53,600 in currency, and more than 33 kilograms of illegal narcotics.

Authorities say 406 of those arrests happened in New York City.

"This is about targeted, intelligence driven crime fighting," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. "One-third of the arrests made in New York City during this operation were people who are previously arrested, arraigned, released and then failed to appear in court."

One of those arrested was Travis Blake, who was wanted in the murders of two women and a man whose bodies were discovered inside a home in South Jamaica home.

The 29-year-old was tracked down five days later in the high impact fugitive apprehension initiative.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the operation is an example of the Justice Department keeping communities safe.

"Those individuals are the most significant drivers of violent crime," he said. "The Justice Department will continue this all summer and as long as it takes to drive these numbers down."

Director of the Marshals Service Ronald Davis said in a release that he's proud of the partnerships they have undertaken.

"Operation North Star was focused on areas where local law enforcement has seen a large number of homicides and shootings," Davis said. "By partnering with our local and state partners, we are able to hone in on the most dangerous criminals who cause the most harm."

Notable arrests resulting from Operation North Star:

--On June 4, Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force (GLRFTF) members arrested Jose Galiano-Meza, 28, who was wanted out of Douglas County, Kansas, for homicide. Galiano-Meza was the suspect in a hit-and-run that resulted in the death of a 10-year-old girl from Eudora, Kansas. A collateral lead was sent by the District of Kansas to the

GLRFTF in Indianapolis where Galiano-Meza was located and arrested.

--On June 6, members of the Eastern Pennsylvania Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force (EPVCFTF) arrested Rashaan Vereen, 34, for attempted homicide, aggravated assault, and firearms charges. Vereen was one of the suspects in a mass shooting incident on June 4 on South Street in Philadelphia in which three people were killed and 11 injured. Also arrested in connection with the shooting were Quran Garner, 18, and a 15-year-old suspect.

--On June 8, members of the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force (NY/NJRFTF) arrested Dionte Mitchell, 22, on two counts of homicide and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Mitchell allegedly shot and killed two female victims after a dispute at a party.

--On June 9, members of the NY/NJRFTF arrested Jaden Baskerville, 21. He was wanted in New York for attempted homicide in connection with a drive-by shooting that resulted in the injury of a 7-year-old girl. Task Force members located Baskerville at a residence in Brooklyn and arrested him without incident.

--On June 14, GLRFTF members arrested Prince Cunningham, 49, for homicide. Cunningham was wanted by the Aurora, Illinois Police Department on two counts of first -degree murder on a cold case homicide from May 9, 2003. After conducting countless hours of surveillance at multiple locations, investigators spotted Cunningham getting into

the driver's seat of a pickup truck. They broke surveillance, approached Cunningham and safely arrested him.

--On June 16, Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force (CARFTF) members arrested Robert Bakersville, 28, for homicide. At the residence where Bakersville was arrested, a search warrant was conducted and ammunition and parts consistent with building a "ghost gun" were seized.

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