'Operation North Star': US Marshals capture 1,500 fugitives over 30 days across 10 cities

U.S. Marshals arrested 1,500 fugitives across 10 U.S. cities over the month of June

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The U.S. Marshal Services (USMS) has arrested 1,500 fugitives stemming from its "Operation North Star" initiative to reduce violent crime in 10 U.S. cities over 30 days.

Across Chicago; Washington, D.C.; New York City; Memphis; New Orleans; Los Angeles; Houston; Indianapolis; Philadelphia; and Baltimore, the USMS arrested 1,501 fugitives, violent criminals, sex offenders and self-identified gang members over the month of June, USMS said in a press release.

"The Marshals remain committed to assisting state and local law enforcement with reducing violent crime in our most vulnerable communities," U.S. Marshals Service Director Ronald Davis said in a statement. "Operation North Star was focused on areas where local law enforcement has seen a large number of homicides and shootings. By partnering with our local and state partners, we are able to hone in on the most dangerous criminals who cause the most harm. I am very proud to lead an agency that is always willing and ready to do the work necessary to quell the violence affecting so many of our cities."

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Operation North Star focused on fugitives wanted for the most heinous crimes, including homicide, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault. Authorities also prioritized the arrests of individuals who had used firearms or other forms of violence in their crimes. U.S. Marshals arrested 230 people for homicide and 131 for sexual assault. Investigators also seized 166 firearms, more than $53,600 and about 73 pounds of illegal drugs.

Notable arrests include Galiano-Meza, 28, who was wanted out of Douglas County, Kansas, for homicide after an alleged hit-and-run that left a 10-year-old Kansas girl dead; Rashaan Vereen, 34, who was wanted for attempted homicide, aggravated assault, and firearms charges out of Philadelphia following his suspected role in a June 4 mass shooting that left three people dead and 11 injured; Dionte Mitchell, 22, who was wanted out of the New York-New Jersey area for allegedly shooting and killing two women after a dispute at a party; Jaden Baskerville, 21, who was wanted out of New York for a suspected drive-by shooting that killed a 7-year-old girl; and Prince Cunningham, 49, who was wanted out of Aurora, Illinois, on two counts of first-degree murder in connection to a cold case homicide from May 9, 2003.

"The Justice Department is committed to doing everything we can to protect our communities from violent crime and end the plague of gun violence," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a Wednesday statement. "Operation North Star reflects the approach we are taking across the Department to work in partnership with law enforcement agencies and communities to identify and hold accountable those responsible for the greatest violence."

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The attorney general added that he is "grateful to the U.S. Marshals Service and the many federal, state, and local task force partners who carried out this operation, and who continue to work to keep the American people safe each and every day."

New York City led the 10 cities targeted by the USMS in the highest number of fugitives arrested, with 339 violent criminals captured over the month of June. Felony charges included 41 wanted for homicide or attempted murder, 109 for robbery, 84 for aggravated assault and 23 for sexual assault. 

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"If you commit a violent crime in our city, we will find you. We will arrest you. And we will build a case to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law," said NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. "I want to thank the U.S. Marshals Service, the NYPD’s Fugitive Enforcement Division, and all of our law-enforcement partners for this collective effort to bring some of New York City’s most violent criminals to justice."

Authorities also made 164 arrests in New Orleans, 122 arrests in Memphis and 60 arrests in Indianapolis.