San Juan PR – The U.S. Marshals Service’s (USMS) latest high-impact fugitive apprehension initiative, dubbed Operation North Star III (ONS III), focused on 20 cities over three months, has resulted in 4,455 fugitive arrests.
Of those arrested, 2,818 were wanted for violent offenses, to include homicide, forcible sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and firearms violations. Investigators also seized 555 firearms, more than $1 million in illicit currency and 85 kilograms of illegal narcotics.
The primary jurisdictions of ONS III were Albuquerque; Baltimore; Buffalo, New York; Chicago; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Houston; Indianapolis; Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tennessee; Milwaukee; New Orleans; New York; Oakland, California; Philadelphia; Puerto Rico; and Washington, D.C.
In total, 105 fugitives were apprehended in Puerto Rico, including seven from the Puerto Rico Police Department’s 10 Most Wanted list, three from the U.S. Marshals 10 Most Wanted list, and seven fugitive sexual offenders.
Notable arrests included:
Heidy Marmolejo-Garcia was arrested for planning and collaborating in the homicide of her ex-boyfriend. During the investigation, information was received of a possible location in Texas. The District of Puerto Rico, in collaboration with the USMS North Texas Fugitive Task Force, arrested Marmolejo-Garcia on July 19.
Martin V. Vazquez was wanted by the state of Ohio for aggravated assault and sexual assault of a minor since 1993. The state of Ohio requested assistance for his capture from the District of Puerto Rico. On August 11, Vázquez was arrested by the USMS Puerto Rico Fugitive Task Force in the municipality of Naranjito.
Osward Oliveras-Cardona was the prime suspect in several homicides in the metropolitan area. On July 31, the fugitive opened fire on three municipal officers, leaving two of them wounded and one of them dead. On August 10, the USMS Puerto Rico Fugitive Task Force in San Juan located and arrested Oliveras-Cardona.
Santiago Apolinar-Rondon was wanted for the homicide of two brothers in a restaurant, Ropa Vieja, who were working at the time of the events. On July 13, Apolinar-Rondón was arrested by the USMS Puerto Rico Fugitive Task Force.
Michael Reyes-Vázquez was the leader of a criminal organization called "Los Marcianos," which was dedicated to drug trafficking and was linked to a series of homicides in the metropolitan area. The USMS Puerto Rico Fugitive Task Force launched an investigation that culminated in the arrest of Reyes Vázquez on June 2.
"The fact that Puerto Rico has been chosen to be part of the task force of Operation North Star III is an important distinction for the office of the United States Marshals Service, District of Puerto Rico,” said U.S. Marshal Wilmer Ocasio-Ibarra. “This action by the U.S. Attorney General's Office is an honor for our workforce here at the District of Puerto Rico. It is important to note that thanks to the support of our sister law and order agencies, these violent and dangerous fugitives have been apprehended and brought to justice. We thank the citizens for their cooperation. Their help has contributed to reducing criminal violence here and, in every city, where this operation took place."
This enforcement action marks the third ONS since July 2022. In total, U.S. Marshals have apprehended more than 6,700 wanted fugitives, of which 900 were charged with homicide, in addition to removing more than 900 weapons associated to violent crime. The concept behind interagency law enforcement operations such as ONS evolved largely from regional and district fugitive task forces. Since the 1980s, the U.S. Marshals Service has combined their resources and expertise with local, state, and federal agencies to find and apprehend dangerous fugitives.