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For Immediate Release

Contact:
April 11, 2016 Amelia Swenhaugen, Deputy U.S. Marshal
District of Arizona – Phoenix (602) 828-8349
U.S. Marshals Coordinate the Arrest of 203 Fugitives to Honor Victims of Crime
 

Phoenix, AZ - From April 5th to April 8th, the U.S. Marshals Service conducted “Operation Justice 2016,” a metro wide fugitive round-up involving 29 law enforcement agencies from Maricopa and Pinal counties. The operation targeted over a thousand fugitives wanted for higher level felony crimes including robbery, rape, dangerous drugs, and assault.

"Victims of crime learn quickly that justice is not always as swift and fair as we would hope. Thousands of fugitives in Arizona continue to commit crimes, often fuelled by drug use and sales that contribute to the degradation of our criminal justice system,” said David P. Gonzales, U.S. Marshal for the District of Arizona. Marshal Gonzales added, “The arrest of 203 fugitives last week by federal, state, and local law enforcement is designed to reduce the number of future victims of crime and to remember those who have experienced the pain and suffering of being a crime victim."

During this time period, Task Force members made a concentrated effort to go after the most violent career criminals and gang members across the Phoenix metro area in line with a National strategy. This strategy is not about increasing arrest numbers, but rather an effort to further protect communities by targeting those who victimize them. The approach is quality versus quantity and is strengthened by working with our law enforcement partners to get the worst of the worst fugitives off the streets.

Since 1981, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime has observed an annual week of remembrance entitled National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. In 2008, the U.S. Marshals Service in Arizona initiated “Operation Justice” as a weeklong law enforcement partnership to seek out and arrest fugitives, thereby ensuring the justice process continues unabated in an effort to assist in the healing and recovery for the victims of crime. While the U.S. Marshals Service targets and prioritizes the worst of the worst every day, Operation Justice allows valley law enforcement agencies to pool their resources in a focused initiative resulting in hundreds of arrests over a one week intensive operation.

Once again, Operation Justice proved to be an effective initiative with arrests totaling 203 throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties. Of that 203, arrests included 23 for Murder/Aggravated Assault, 5 for Sex Offenses/Sex Assaults, and 14 for Robbery/Firearms related offenses. This was a strategically focused approach through the use of the U.S. Marshals multi-jurisdictional investigative authority and its fugitive task force networks at the local level. The following arrests are examples of the type of career criminals and predators focused on during this operation:

  • Lance Dunbar, 33, was arrested on April 5th in Laveen, AZ. Dunbar, a career criminal and documented member of a criminal street gang, was wanted by the Phoenix Police Department for two counts of Armed Robbery and two counts of Kidnapping. Dunbar was also wanted by the Arizona Department of Corrections for violating the conditions of his parole. Dunbar was on parole after being convicted and serving six years in prison for Armed Robbery. When contacted by law enforcement during Operation Justice 2016, Dunbar fled in his vehicle towards the residence of a known female associate. Upon arriving at the residence he began to run towards the front door where he was confronted by law enforcement and taken into custody in the driveway. For additional information on Dunbar, click here.
  • Efrain Renteria-Felix, 22, was arrested on April 6th in Surprise, AZ. Renteria-Felix was wanted by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in connection with an armed robbery of a vehicle in the Sun City area in December, 2015. Shortly after the vehicle was stolen, Sheriff’s Deputies became involved in a pursuit with Renteria-Felix who, along with the other suspects involved in the armed robbery, attempted to flee in two different vehicles from law enforcement. During Operation Justice 2016, Renteria-Felix was located in Surprise, AZ and taken into custody without incident. At the time of his arrest, Renteria-Felix was found to have approximately 3.3. grams of methamphetamine in his possession. For additional information on Renteria-Felix, click here.
  • Ikemefula Ibeabuchi, 43, was arrested on April 7th in Gilbert, AZ. Ibeabuchi was wanted by the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department for violating conditions of his probation. Ibeabuchi was on lifetime probation after having been convicted in 1998 of sexual assault. Also, as a result of this conviction, Ibeabuchi is required to register as a sex offender. Ibeabuchi’s criminal history includes arrests for Battery with Intent to Commit Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault, Aggravated Kidnapping, Murder while Committing a Felony and possession of marijuana. Ibeabuchi is a former heavyweight boxer who was allegedly training for a comeback in the sport of boxing after being incarcerated for 17 years in Nevada. For additional information on Ibeabuchi, click here.

“We are proud to partner with the US Marshals Service and our fellow law enforcement agencies in this effort to hold offenders accountable and protect the community from further harm,” Said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “The successful results of Operation Justice 2016 are a fitting tribute to our common commitment to uphold the rights of crime victims and seek justice on their behalf.”

“The Mesa Police Department is dedicated to protecting those who are defenseless in our community and working side-by-side with all levels of our law enforcement partners intensifies the goal to make our community safer,” said Mesa Police Chief John Meza. “Operation Justice strengthens our focus to locate and apprehend repeated offenders who prey on our society."

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.

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America’s Oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency