The U.S. Marshals Service has concluded a high-impact fugitive apprehension initiative aimed at combating violent crime in 10 cities with a significant number of homicides and shootings.
This 30-day initiative, called Operation North Star (ONS), resulted in the arrest of 1,501 fugitives, violent criminals, sex offenders, and self-identified gang members in Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
Operation North Star focused on fugitives wanted for the most serious, violent, and harmful offenses, including homicide, sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault. Operation North Star investigators prioritized their efforts to include individuals using firearms in their crimes, or who exhibited risk factors associated with violence.
“The Justice Department is committed to doing everything we can to protect our communities from violent crime and end the plague of gun violence,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “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. 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.”
Throughout the month of June, the U.S. Marshals Service used its broad arrest authority and network of task forces to arrest individuals wanted on 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.
“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. 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.”
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 seven-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.
The concept behind interagency law enforcement operations such as Operation North Star evolved largely from regional and district task forces. Since the 1980s, the Marshals Service has combined their resources and expertise with local, state, and federal agencies to find and apprehend dangerous fugitives. Operation North Star continued this tradition.