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For Immediate Release

Contact:
January 29, 2010 Southern District of Ohio - William L. Taylor
Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal (937) 225-2917;
USMS Headquarters Public Affairs (202) 307-9065
Operation Neighborhood Watch Concluded in Gallia and Meigs Counties
Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies Join Forces to Protect our Communities

Gallipolis and Pomeroy, OH – The United States Marshals Service in the Southern District of Ohio, the State of Ohio Adult Parole Authority, the State of Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) and the men and women of the Gallia County and Meigs County Sheriff’s Offices conducted a joint law enforcement effort to verify the residency of local sex offenders in their counties. During January 25-28, 2010, Deputy Sheriffs, Deputy U.S. Marshals, Adult Parole Officers and BCI Agents teamed up in the third of a continuing Federal Operation known as Operation Neighborhood Watch Eastern Borders. This initiative is a collaborative law enforcement effort that is designed to keep the public safe by ensuring that these offenders are complying with sex offender registration obligations and residing where they have reported. Of special interest, the U.S. Marshals Service in the Southern District of West Virginia and several West Virginia state and local law enforcement agencies completed similar actions in Mason and Jackson counties during the same timeframe.

In Gallia County, four out of thirty three registered sex offenders were found to be out of compliance and are facing possible local charges including additional charges of firearms violations and parole violation. In addition, four other subjects were arrested on other criminal charges. Included in those arrested was Jeffrey Watkins, one of Gallia's Most Wanted Fugitives. (http://www.galliasheriff.org/wanted.htm

In Meigs County, of the thirty five registered sex offenders, twenty four were located and verified as being in compliance with their registration requirements. Brian Barney, Brian Stewart and Timothy Ball were arrested for failure to register. In addition, six other subjects were located and arrested based upon other criminal violations.

Sheriff Joe Browning said, “The assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service is greatly appreciated. Coordinated multi-agency efforts like we have done here the past two days definitely send the message that sex offenders living in our communities must stay in compliance, and that the offenders are being checked on. This effort should be a comfort to our citizens and definitely shows that your local Sheriff’s Office can obtain federal assistance when needed. “

Sheriff Robert E. Beegle stated, “I welcome the assistance provided to my office by the members of the task force. We take seriously the requirements placed on the sex offenders by the court and the law and want to make sure they are following the rules. Operations like this benefit the citizens of Meigs County and help make our county's citizens safer.”

Interim United States Marshal Cathy Jones commented, “The collaborative efforts of all of the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies involved in this operation sends a clear message that we stand together to protect our communities. For those sex offenders that are not registered and are on the run or in hiding, ‘We are determined to locate you and will not stop until we do so. We have clearly shown that in the arrests of Brian Barney and Brian Stewart.’ We also want to emphasize we appreciate the cooperation of all the citizens we encountered who provided tips throughout the week.”

Deputy United States Marshal and Task Force leader Nicole Ralston said, “The state of Ohio provides the Marshals with a weekly list of all non-compliant sex offenders. In Gallia County we tracked down Jerry Raines who had refused to follow his registration requirements and was a fugitive for over 319 days. In Meigs County, the task force targeted Brian Barney for apprehension and locked him up after 586 days of being non-compliant in his registration requirements and Brian Stewart who was 131 days out of compliance. Warrants had been issued by the court for their arrest and the task force used its investigative expertise and the personal knowledge of local police officers and deputy sheriffs to track them down and put them in jail. The citizens of these counties are safer as a result of these arrests.”

To search for sex offenders in Gallia County, review safety tips, and learn more about your local Sheriff’s office efforts, please visit http://www.galliasheriff.org/, and click on the tab indicated as “Sexual Offenders”. To search for sex offenders in Meigs County, please visit http://www.sheriffalerts.com/cap_main.php?office=53965 and click on the tab indicated as “Search for Sex Offenders in your area”.

If you reside outside of these two counties, you can also conduct your own sex offender search. One of the most important programs in the State of Attorney General's office is eSORN, Ohio's Electronic Sex Offender Registration and Notification, one of the nation's preeminent applications for locating and tracking registered sex offenders. For more details, please visit: http://www.esorn.ag.state.oh.us.

The U.S. Marshals Service is the lead law enforcement agency responsible for investigating sex offender registration violations and related offenses in connection with violations of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which was enacted July 27, 2006. As part of this Act, the U.S. Marshals Service has been directed to assist state, local, tribal and territorial authorities in the location and apprehension of non-compliant and fugitive sex offenders. Offenders that are found residing out of state can be charged federally and often those charges carry more severe penalties. To ensure the safety of children across the country, the U.S. Marshals Service implemented an aggressive enforcement strategy. Since the law was enacted the Untied States Marshals Service has arrested 9,160 fugitives for Sex Offenses, Failure to Register and Failure to Comply with Sex Offenders Registration Requirements. To learn more, please visit: www.usmarshals.gov.
 

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