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For Immediate Release

July 17, 2019

Mike Stokes, Deputy U.S. Marshal Mike Stokes
Western District of Missouri, Kansas City (816) 512-1996;

U.S. Marshals Office of Public Affairs (703) 740-1699
U.S. Marshals Task Force Captures Sex Offender Who Fled to Mexico

Kansas City, MO – U.S. Marshal Mark S. James, Western District of Missouri announced today the capture of a wanted, non-compliant sex offender from Jackson County in Mexico.

John L. Phelps was charged in Jackson County, MO with statutory sodomy and child molestation in July 2008. In 2009 he was convicted and sentenced to 6 years incarceration and classified as a Tier III sex offender requiring him to register for life.

Phelps was released from prison in 2014, returning to Jackson County and by 2016, he had stopped reporting to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office as required by law. Investigators with the Oak Grove Police Department investigated new allegations against Phelps and in June 2019 he was charged in Jackson County with one count of sodomy, two counts of incest and one count of statutory rape of a child under 14 years old.

Phelps could not be located to answer the new charges so the Oak Grove Police Department requested the assistance of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office who is partnered with the U.S. Marshals Service to seek out and arrest wanted non-compliant sex offenders and other fugitives charged with serious and violent crimes. Task force investigators would soon discover that Phelps had already fled to Mexico, eventually narrowing his location down to San Luis Potosi′ City.

On July 16, 2019 after coordination through the U.S. Marshals Service foreign field office in Mexico City and the FBI assistant legal attache´, Mexican authorities took Phelps into custody without incident. He was deported early the next morning back to the United States due to entering Mexico illegally and was handed over to Deputy Marshals in Houston. Phelps was then lodged with local authorities in Harris County, TX awaiting extradition back to Missouri. “This capture would not have happened without the tremendous cooperative effort by our law enforcement partners,” James said.

The U.S. Marshals Midwest Violent Fugitive Task Force-Kansas City division, operates in conjunction with members of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, Independence Missouri Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol, FBI, ATF and other state and federal law enforcement partners. The task force objectives are to seek out and arrest fugitives charged with violent crimes, drug offenses, sex offenders and other serious felonies as well as the investigation and recovery of missing and exploited children. Nationally the United States Marshals Service fugitive programs are carried out with local law enforcement in 94 district offices, 85 local fugitive task forces, 7 regional task forces, as well as a growing network of offices in foreign countries.

Tips can be submitted to the U.S. Marshals service directly and anonymously by downloading the USMS Tips app to your Apple or Android device. It can also be accessed online at Follow the latest news and updates about the U.S. Marshals Service on Twitter: @USMarshalsHQ.

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


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