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September 18, 2008 Public Affairs Office (202) 307-9065
MIAMI, FL – Thank you, Deputy Attorney General Filip. All of us appreciate your support and that of the Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice in making our homeland a safer place.

Operation Orange Crush, led by the U.S. Marshals, represents an unprecedented law enforcement effort to combat violent crime concentrated on a single state over a specific period of time.

I want to acknowledge the huge support from the representatives of our partner law enforcement agencies who are standing with us today. We are proud to have been able to work with over 30 federal, state and local agencies here in South Florida alone.

Together, we can proclaim Florida is much safer today because of the combined efforts of the state, local and federal officers who took 2,497 of Florida’s most-wanted – with a combined total of 12,489 prior arrests – off the street.

Operation Orange Crush was truly a team effort and should speak volumes to the citizens of this great state that law enforcement is united in fighting violent crime. This operation represents the first time in the state of Florida that law enforcement jurisdictions large and small from Miami to Tallahassee to Panama City concentrated, together, in rounding up violent offenders who had outstanding warrants.

Crushing violent crime by apprehending wanted suspects is no easy task. The targets for Operation Orange Crush were violent felony fugitives, gang members and sex offenders. While planning for this operation, we asked state and local law enforcement to give us their worst–of-the-worst wanted fugitives and that is who we went after.

These are individuals that purposely try to evade apprehension, are constantly on the move, use alias names and every trick in the book to stay clear of the police. But, for almost 2,500 of them, they were no match for this modern-day posse of motivated law enforcement officers.

In a few moments Marshal Pharo will give an example of the tangible, significant threat to the communities we were able to bring to justice during this operation, but I want to take just a moment to discuss what is among the most senseless and incomprehensible of criminal offenses – sex offenders who prey on defenseless victims.

The U.S. Marshals were tasked with important new responsibilities in 2006 under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. This important new legislation designated the Marshals as the lead federal agency tasked with locating fugitive sex offenders who fail to register or do not comply with their state’s registry requirements.

I am extremely proud that the efforts of those participating in this operation resulted in over 100 arrests of sex offenders who failed to register.

I am convinced Operation Orange Crush made a difference for the victims of violent crime in Florida. The 2,497 fugitives we apprehended and returned to justice included 113 murderers, 255 sex offenders, and 55 gang members.

Each of the agencies here today embodies commitment – a commitment to work together; a commitment to keep the pressure on fugitives and bring them to justice; a commitment to ridding our streets of violent offenders; and a commitment to prevent further victimization of our most vulnerable citizens.

Although this particular operation has ended, tomorrow there will continue to be Deputy U.S. Marshals, Sheriff’s Deputies and police officers from jurisdictions throughout the state, all working together, pursuing dangerous fugitives.

Victims of violent crime expect and deserve to see that those who have harmed them or their loved ones are brought to justice. If you know you have an outstanding arrest warrant, do the right thing and turn yourself in – otherwise you will probably be getting a visit from one of us. The United States Marshals Service and Florida law enforcement are committed to crushing crime by arresting violent offenders.

Thank you. I will now turn the podium over to U.S. Marshal Pharo, who has some remarks before we begin taking questions.

Read News Release: Operation Orange Crush Nabs Thousands of Fugitives Across Florida

B-Roll operational footage of Operation Orange Crush will be available for satellite uplink today from Noon to 1 p.m. EST. Coordinates below:

U/L Freq: 14340V
D/L Freq: 12040H
Horizons 2 is located at 74.05* West