News Banner


For Immediate Release

Contact:
April 23, 2012 Matt Hershey, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal
District of Arizona – Phoenix (602) 920-4841
Over 200 Wanted Felons Arrested During Valley Wide Operation

Phoenix, AZ – From April 16-20, Phoenix valley law enforcement partners collaborated on “Operation Justice IV”, a one week round-up of wanted felons in honor of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Operation Justice netted valley law enforcement partners 251 fugitives wanted throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties. In addition to arresting these fugitives, 16 weapons were taken off the streets.
The U.S. Marshals Service in the District of Arizona through its Arizona WANTED Violent Offender Task Force coordinated this effort to coincide with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week which is observed the week of April 22-28, 2012. Since 1981, the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime has observed and assisted communities in promoting victims’ rights and to honor crime victims and those that advocate on their behalf. The vast majority of victims of violent crimes have no voice. During this week long operation law enforcement officers across the valley were their voice.

U.S. Marshal David Gonzales stated, "We know from experience, and the sad experiences from far too many victims, that a fugitive is more desperate, more predatory, and more likely to commit crimes that reduce the quality of life in our communities. These arrests will prevent numerous crimes committed by individuals who prey on our communities in order to survive while attempting to escape justice.”
Of the 251 fugitives arrested, 7 were wanted for sexual offenses. Robert Cummings, 25, was arrested by Operation Justice Participants at a residence in Buckeye.

Cummings was wanted by the Chula Vista, CA Police Department for Lewd or Lascivious Acts with a Minor. These charges stem from an allegation that Cummings sexually assaulted a known 14 year old female over a ten day period in 2011. It is alleged that Cummings committed numerous lewd and lascivious acts to the victim including communicating with the victim for sexual intent, oral copulation with a victim less than 16 years of age and penetration with a foreign object with a victim less than 16 years of age.

Numerous fugitives targeted during this operation were wanted for drug and weapons offenses. One of those arrested was Albert Merrill. Merrill, 32, was arrested by Operation Justice Participants at a residence in Avondale. Merrill was wanted by the Arizona Department of Corrections for violating the conditions of his parole. Merrill, a career criminal and documented gang member, was on parole after having been convicted of Misconduct Involving Weapons. On April 17th, Operation Justice Participants developed information that Merrill was residing at an Avondale residence. As Officer’s approached the residence, Merrill tried fleeing out the back door holding a pistol. Merrill was confronted by Officer’s as he was trying to climb a wall, at which time he dropped the weapon and attempted to flee in another direction forcing an Officer to deploy a projectile stun gun
to affect the arrest. Subsequent to the arrest, Officer’s found numerous other weapons in the room where Merrill was residing.

“Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the U.S. Marshals Service and our state and local law enforcement partners, the citizens of Maricopa County are safer today with the successful apprehension of these fugitives and the seizure of dangerous weapons and drugs,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “My office now looks forward to the opportunity to hold these violent offenders accountable and protecting the community from further harm,” he added.

Operation Justice involved over 100 law enforcement officers from 30 contributing agencies throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties.

The United States Marshals Service is the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. Annually, U.S. Marshals arrest more than 50 percent of all federal fugitives and serve more federal warrants than all other federal agencies combined.

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

####

America’s Oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency