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For Immediate Release

August 09, 2013 Senior Inspector Brandon Taylor
Eastern District of North Carolina (910) 483-0450
167 Fugitives Arrested by Lawmen in Cumberland County

Fayetteville, NC – The U.S. Marshals Service, Eastern District of North Carolina, announces the conclusion of Operation Blue Thunder, a multi-agency fugitive operation conducted this week in Cumberland County. In the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, scores of officers from a variety of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies gathered together in Fayetteville for a single purpose – to set out in search of Cumberland County’s most wanted fugitives. The targets of this operation were wanted for a variety of offenses including assault, robbery, narcotics violations, property crimes, weapons offenses, probation violations, and by end of Wednesday, 167 subjects had been arrested and 223 warrants had been served. Additionally, 18 probation absconders were arrested and brought back under the supervision of the state probation officers. Three illegal video poker machines were seized along with various quantities of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Participating agencies included the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville Police Department, NC. Department of Public Safety – Division of Adult Corrections, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, NC State Bureau of Investigation, Hope Mills Police Department, Spring Lake Police Department, Department of the Army Civilian Police, NC. State Highway Patrol and Cumberland County Alcohol Beverage Control Law Enforcement. This operation highlights the impact that the combined resources of federal, state, and local law enforcement can have on a community in a short period of time. Additional arrests are also forthcoming as officers pursue information gathered during the initiative.

Significant arrests include:

  • Gabriel Smart, age 33, wanted by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies for trafficking opium and/or heroin and failing to appear in court for the following offenses: robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, deliver cocaine, maintaining a dwelling/vehicle/place for controlled substances, possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver cocaine, sell cocaine, conspiracy to sell cocaine, possession of a firearm by a felon, and habitual felon.
  • Davie Bruton, age 27, wanted by the Fayetteville Police Department for robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, trafficking opium and/or heroin, and conspiracy to traffic opium/heroin.

Operation Blue Thunder has sent a loud and clear message to the criminals - If you commit a crime, you cannot hide in our communities. I would like to personally thank all of the law enforcement officers, citizens, and media for all of their personal sacrifices during this operation,” said Scott J. Parker, United States Marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Fayetteville Police Department Chief Harold E. Medlock said “The Fayetteville Police Department is proud to continue its work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to make Fayetteville, Cumberland County and surrounding jurisdictions safe from criminals who commit crimes in the many cities and counties in the eastern region of North Carolina. This important criminal roundup serves notice to criminals that law enforcement agencies will devote the necessary resources and personnel to ensure that our streets are safe from criminal predators. Operation Blue Thunder demonstrates that multiple law enforcement agencies can and do work well together toward a common goal of making communities safe.”

“It is an honor to be a part of a group of men and women dedicated to keeping our communities safe and our criminals accountable for their crimes. These law enforcement officers spend many hours away from their own families, as well as risk their lives, to bring fugitives to justice. I applaud them all for a job well done,” said Cumberland County Sheriff Earl R. Butler.

“Cooperative enforcement operations with our federal and local partners are key to building safer communities,” said Frank Perry, acting Secretary of the NC Department of Public Safety. “Collaborating with other law enforcement in capturing violent fugitives is a top priority for our agency.”

This operation is the largest of its kind to be conducted in this county, and follows the successful conclusion of other such operations sponsored by the U.S. Marshals in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The Marshals have developed a system of partnering with state and local agencies in an effort to ensure that those violent offenders that attempt to evade the judicial system are brought back to face prosecution for their crimes. Since August 2012, the Marshals have arrested 101,822 fugitives and cleared 123,090 warrants.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at


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