Cedar Rapids, IA – The U.S. Marshals Northern Iowa Fugitive Task Force has been conducting an initiative focused on apprehending Iowa's Most Wanted fugitive sex offenders, playing a unique role in efforts to combat child exploitation.
During this operation, 13 Most Wanted sex offenders were located and arrested throughout Iowa. These arrests resulted in the recovery of two firearms, multiple rounds of ammunition, narcotics, and three new criminal cases presented to the U.S. Attorney’s office for consideration. Of the 13 subjects arrested, seven had prior convictions for crimes against children under the age of 13. All of the fugitives arrested were in a non-compliant status with Iowa’s Sex Offender Registry.
The Iowa Sex Offender Registry became law on July 1, 1995, and is maintained and updated daily by the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Today, there are 6,549 registered sex offenders in the state of Iowa. The offenders listed on the Most Wanted website have been in a non-compliance status with the registry and have active arrest warrants on file. Today, 49 offenders remain on Iowa’s Most Wanted.
"Much of the success of this operation can be attributed to the vigilant efforts of our community members," said Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Phil Hartung. "Throughout this operation, tips were received through the Iowa Sex Offender Registry’s tip line and through the United States Marshals tip line.
"The relationship between the United States Marshal's Service and the Iowa Department of Public Safety's Sex Offender Registry is an invaluable one," said Iowa Department of Public Safety Special Agent in Charge J. Hunter Bellon. "The expertise the U.S. Marshals Service provides regarding fugitive apprehension, coupled with the local knowledge and investigative skill of our Special Agents, Sheriff's Deputies, and Police Officers creates a very strong and effective law enforcement resource. The work these individuals put in on a daily basis along with the support of our communities, truly makes Iowa a safer place."
The Northern Iowa Fugitive Task Force is seeking additional support from the community in locating Iowa's Most Wanted. The U.S. Marshals are offering cash rewards for information directly leading to the arrest of sex offenders who are in a non-compliant status. Tips submitted are entirely confidential, completely anonymous and are processed by the United States Marshals Service.
“Ensuring our community's safety is a continual effort, and our Deputy Marshals in Iowa will continue to track these offenders who are deliberately out of compliance," said acting U.S. Marshal for the District of Northern Iowa Chris Barther. "The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Project Safe Childhood relies upon the ongoing efforts and relationships between law enforcement agencies, nonprofit entities (including schools), advocacy organizations and many others to protect and defend children against sexual exploitation and abuse."
The U.S. Marshals Service is the federal government's primary agency for fugitive investigations. Nationwide, more than 50 local task forces are dedicated to violent crime reduction by locating and apprehending wanted criminals. These task forces also serve as the central point for agencies to share information on fugitive matters. The Northern Iowa Fugitive Task Force comprises officers from the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Linn County Sheriff's office, Cedar Rapids Police Department, Waterloo Police Department, Marion Police Department, Sioux City Police Department, the Nebraska State Patrol, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Iowa Department of Correctional Services.