Cleveland, OH - The U.S. Marshals Service has conducted the second phase of a high-impact fugitive apprehension initiative, Operation North Star II (ONS II), focusing on the country’s most violent offenders in 10 locations. The sites selected were Albuquerque, New Mexico; Buffalo, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Oakland, California and Puerto Rico, each of which has seen a large increase in recent homicides and shootings.
This 30-day initiative resulted in the arrest of 145 fugitives and violent criminals in the Northern District of Ohio. Fugitive investigations happened across the city of Cleveland and even reached as far as southern California, where a Cleveland shooting suspect was arrested during the operation.
Operation North Star focused on those fugitives who were wanted for the most serious, violent, and harmful offenses such as homicide, forcible sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. ONS II investigators prioritized their efforts to include individuals using firearms in their crimes, or who exhibited risk factors associated with violence.
“The U.S. Marshals Service remains steadfast in its commitment to assisting law enforcement and community leaders at all levels to combat violent crime.” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Ronald Davis. “The success of Operation North Star II is based on its laser focus on the most significant drivers of violence. We are confident that apprehending these offenders will bring a level of justice to their victims and contribute to the overall violence reduction efforts in each city.”
In Northern Ohio, 59 fugitives were arrested for assault, 20 for robbery, 17 for sex offenses, and 14 for homicide, and a total of 188 warrants were closed due to those arrests. Due to the focused efforts and the partnerships during this time, officers were able to take three times the number of violent fugitives off the streets compared to this time last year.
Although this operation was led by the U.S. Marshals Service, members of the Cleveland Division of Police, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County were instrumental in the success of this operation.
“I am thankful for the leadership of Pete Elliott and his team at the United States Marshals Service along with all of our partner law enforcement agencies for participating in this successful multi-agency effort,” said Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond. “Members of law enforcement remain committed to working together to keep our neighborhoods safe, and a major part of that lies in removing violent offenders from our streets.”
In addition to focusing on putting fugitives behind bars, members of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force (NOVFTF) and its partners also took time to meet with community leaders from across the city of Cleveland and engaged with a number of high school students to hear about the impact of violent crime in their communities.
“The safety of our residents is our number one priority," stated Mayor Justin M. Bibb. "Operations like this are a great example of how we can leverage our partnerships and work collaboratively for a safer city. We are grateful for the hard work of everyone involved in this effort.”
While Operation North Star was running, the Northern District of Ohio opened a hotline to Fugitive Safe Surrender in Cuyahoga County. The Fugitive Safe Surrender hotline will remain open through February for persons with active felony warrants in Cuyahoga County who want to make arrangements to peacefully surrender and deal with their outstanding warrant.
U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott stated, “Northern Ohio has built a strong partnership over the years with both area law enforcement agencies and members of the community. Working together on this operation to focus on apprehending the most dangerous fugitives in our area has helped to make Cleveland safer for the people who live and work here. We appreciate everyone’s dedicated efforts to make this operation a success.”
Anyone with information concerning a wanted fugitive can contact the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 1-866-4WANTED (1-866-492-6833), or you can submit a web tip. Reward money is available, and tipsters may remain anonymous.
Follow the U.S. Marshals on Twitter @USMSCleveland.