Philadelphia, PA – The U.S. Marshals Service has conducted a high-impact fugitive apprehension initiative focusing on the country’s most violent offenders in 10 cities, including Philadelphia.
This 30-day initiative, called Operation North Star (ONS), resulted in the arrest of more than 85 fugitives, gang members, sex offenders and violent criminals in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Operation North Star was concentrated on fugitives with arrest warrants, wanted for the most serious, violent, and harmful offenses such as homicide, forcible sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault. Operation North Star investigators prioritized the offenses with signals of firearm use in their crime, and those with a larger number of risk factors for violence.
In addition to Philadelphia, other cities selected were New Orleans, New York City, Baltimore, Washington, Indianapolis, Memphis, Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles, each of which has seen a large increase in recent homicides and shootings.
“Communities cannot prosper when they are continuously impacted by violent crime,” said Eric Gartner, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “This surge in our state and local fugitive enforcement mission focused on removing the violent offenders whose undesirable presence serves only to diminish the good citizens of Philadelphia.”
Between June 1 and June 30, the U.S. Marshals Service used its broad arrest and investigative authority and fugitive task force network to arrest 85 violent fugitives wanted on charges including homicide, attempted murder, crimes involving firearms, and sexual offenses. In addition, during the course of the fugitive investigations, investigators seized 16 firearms.
Notable arrests resulting from Operation North Star:
On May 23 Eastern Pennsylvania Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force members arrested Ajani Uhuru, 24, for homicide. During the arrest two firearms, were seized, as well as $5,065 in U.S. currency.
On June 6, members of the Eastern Pennsylvania Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force arrested Rashaan Vereen, 34, for attempted homicide, aggravated assault and firearms charges. Vereen was one of the suspects in a mass shooting incident June 4 on South Street in which three people were killed and 11 injured. Also arrested in connection with the shooting were Quran Garner, 18, and a 15-year-old suspect.
Also arrested was a suspect who attempted to flee the country, wanted for arson which resulted in the death of a Philadelphia firefighter.
The concept behind interagency law enforcement operations such as Operation North Star evolved largely from regional and district task forces. Since the 1980s, the Marshals Service has combined their resources and expertise with local, state and federal agencies to find and apprehend dangerous fugitives. Operation North Star continued this tradition.