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For Immediate Release

Contact:
July 01, 2009 Corey Britt, Deputy United States Marshal
Lafayette, Louisiana (337) 262-6792
U.S. Marshals Arrest 'America's Most Wanted' Fugitive James Francis

On June 30th at approximately 6:30 p.m. members of the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force in Houston arrested sixty year old James Francis at the Best Classic Suites in North Houston. Francis was Wanted by the Lafayette Police Department for 2nd Degree Murder. Lafayette PD Detectives allege that on August 31, 2008 James Francis and his brother, Michael Francis arrived at the Food World grocery/convenient store in Lafayette, LA. Michael Francis went into the store, got into an argument with the store owner about how the owner bagged his beer. The owner then followed Michael Francis into the parking lot and that is where Michael’s brother, James Francis allegedly shot the store owner, Qaher Abualoff. Mr. Abualoff died two days later.

Approximately one week later, Michael Francis surrendered to the Lafayette Police Department, but James Francis remained a fugitive. On January 7, 2009 the Western District of Louisiana’s (WDLA) Fugitive Task Force in Lafayette adopted this fugitive investigation. Several leads were developed, but nothing significant. In April, 2009 the U.S. Marshals contacted America’s Most Wanted (AMW) requesting assistance. AMW agreed to air Francis and on June 13th Francis appeared on AMW as a 15-Seconds of Shame fugitive. U.S. Marshals received very few tips that night and the days that followed. However, on June 30th a caller called the U.S. Marshals in Lafayette and stated that she saw Francis on America’s Most Wanted and saw him this past Saturday at a Wal-Mart in Houston. The caller went on to say that she was 100% sure Francis was the person she saw. Finally, the caller stated that she saw him again this past Sunday in the parking lot of the Best Classic Suites in Houston. WDLA forwarded that information to the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Houston (Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force) who immediately responded to the motel. Three separate interviews with personnel at the motel led investigators to believe that Francis was in fact at the motel. U.S. Marshals task force members were able to confirm that Francis was in a particular room and they safely arrested him at approximately 6:30 p.m. without incident.

The United States Marshal for the Western District of Louisiana said, “The coordinated effort of all law enforcement to bring dangerous criminals to justice ensures that the streets and neighborhoods of Louisiana are a safer place to raise our children.”

Annually, investigations carried out by the U.S. Marshals result in the apprehension of approximately 34,000 federal fugitives. More federal fugitives are arrested by Marshals than all other federal agencies combined.

The Western District of Louisiana’s Task Force is a team comprised of law enforcement officers from agencies throughout the Western part of Louisiana (Shreveport, Monroe, Lake Charles, Alexandria, Opelousas, and Lafayette). The task force objective is to seek out and arrest federal, state, and local fugitives, mainly those with violent criminal histories to include sex offenders. In 2008, U.S. Marshals task forces arrested more than 73,000 state and local fugitives on felony charges.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.