Authorities Thursday announced the results of Operation North Star, a nationwide task force effort targeting violent criminals that netted more than 1,500 arrests in Los Angeles and nine other cities.
The 30-day operation, conducted in June, included personnel from the U.S. Marshals Service and numerous state and local law enforcement organizations, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The enforcement effort resulted in the arrests of “fugitives, violent criminals, sex offenders and self-identified gang members” in L.A., Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Memphis, Tennessee, the DOJ reported.
“These individuals pose a clear and present danger to the safety of Los Angeles, as well as the nine other cities that were chosen to be a part of this North Star operation,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said at a Thursday news conference at LAPD headquarters.
“I’m proud of the work and the partnership of LAPD with the U.S. Marshals Service,” Moore said. “That is an ongoing one that has been in existence for more than a decade, and regularly works in identifying violent fugitives and bringing them to the criminal justice system.”
According to the DOJ, Operation North Star focused on fugitives wanted for the most serious, violent and harmful offenses, including homicide, sexual assault, robbery or aggravated assault.
Investigators prioritized their efforts to include people using firearms in their crimes, or who exhibited risk factors associated with violence, the DOJ reported.
“The Justice Department is committed to doing everything we can to protect our communities from violent crime and end the plague of gun violence,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a 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,” Garland said.
“I am 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,” Garland said.
Throughout the month of June, the U.S. Marshals Service used its broad arrest authority and network of task forces to arrest people wanted on charges, including 230 for homicide and 131 for sexual assault, the DOJ reported.
Investigators also seized 166 firearms, more than $53,600 in currency and more than 33 kilograms of illegal drugs, the DOJ reported.
“The Marshals remain committed to assisting state and local law enforcement with reducing violent crime in our most vulnerable communities,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Ronald Davis.
“Operation North Star was focused on areas where local law enforcement has seen a large number of homicides and shootings,” Davis said.
Here are some notable arrests from Operation North Star:
— On June 4, Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force members arrested Jose Galiano-Meza, 28, wanted out of Douglas County, Kansas, for homicide.
— On June 6, members of the Eastern Pennsylvania Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force arrested Rashaan Vereen, 34, for attempted homicide, aggravated assault and firearms charges. Vereen one of the suspects in a mass shooting on June 4 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 arrested Dionte Mitchell, 22, on two counts of homicide and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Mitchell allegedly shot two female victims to death after a dispute at a party.
— On June 16, Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force 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.
The concept behind interagency law enforcement operations such as Operation North Star evolved largely from regional and district task forces, the DOJ reported.
“Since the 1980s, the Marshals Service has combined their resources and expertise with local, state and federal agencies to find and apprehend dangerous fugitives,” the DOJ reported. “Operation North Star continued this tradition.”
For more information about Operation North Star, go to www.usmarshals.gov.