A news 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 give somewhat 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 activities so that they can at least suspend, and not disrupt the communities where they have some peace of mind to where and to which they live.”
Representatives from US Marshals, the Houston Police Department, the 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 during the news conference about the joint effort to crack down on violent criminals.
Since the launch of this initiative, law enforcement has taken dangerous fugitives off the streets, bringing closure to victims and families of victims.
In 30 days, the initiative has resulted in the following arrests of 152 violent fugitives in the Houston area:
- 15 arrests for homicide
- 17 arrests for sexual offenders
- 61 arrests were made for suspects accused of assault
- 24 arrests for dangerous drugs
- 18 arrests for robbery
Officials also noted that numerous firearms, money and drugs were seized during these arrests.
Federal funding supported the additional focus on tracking down violent criminals. A majority of it paid for overtime for law enforcement agencies, according to officials.
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 out on bond or are still considered fugitives.
HPD Chief Finner thanked his department for its efforts and said they will continue to find violent fugitives, bring them in and charge them.
Harris County Pct. 1 Constable Alan Rosen said his constables are going after the harshest of criminal suspects, such as those charged with capital murder suspects. Rosen said each time they go back and rearrests these violent offenders, the stakes get higher because the suspects know they are on their last chance of freedom.
Ogg also thanked all agencies involved in the initiative, saying this is a two-part system, and the support and collaborative efforts help prosecutors in these cases.
“It’s gratifying as a law enforcement leader 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 City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Department of Justice.