New Orleans, LA – The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) New Orleans Task Force (U.S. Marshals Service Eastern District of Louisiana) sponsored its annual Operation Boo Dat 2020 from October 19 to December 11, 2020. The partnership between Crime stoppers Greater New Orleans (GNO), New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPSO), Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office (JPSO), Louisiana State Police (LSP), and U.S. Marshals Service resulted in 32 arrests with 22 of the arrests being for felony sex offender registration violations. 4 missing/endangered children were also recovered during the operation.
Crime stoppers Greater New Orleans tips were critical to several of the arrests during the operation and Crime stoppers Greater New Orleans ran a photo spread of over twenty wanted sex offender, child abuse, or open sex offense fugitives with a reward offered for information leading to an arrest.
Highlights of Operation Boo Dat 2020 included:
- The recoveries of 4 missing/endangered children with one being a 16-year-old female New Orleans Police Department runaway who left an uptown New Orleans juvenile facility with two other teens. The 16-year-old was recovered in Metairie, LA and two adult males were arrested for sex-based offenses during the recovery. In a separate case a two-year-old child who was the victim of a parental abduction in Johnson County, Kansas in Oct. was recovered in Metairie and her mother was also located and arrested.
- The arrest of Anfernee Devante Steele wanted on an New Orleans Police Department warrant related to the alleged October beating death by Steele of his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter in a New Orleans hotel room. Steele was arrested in Houma, LA with critical support from an Operation Boo Dat Crime stoppers Greater New Orleans tip. The death of the child and Steele’s fugitive status were featured on national news outlets.
- The arrest of Malcom J. Richards on an August 2020 New Orleans Police Department felony warrant alleging that Richards put a 2-year-old male child in the hospital with serious medical issues as a result of child abuse. Richards, who is currently on LA Parole for a Home Invasion conviction, was observed in the Little Woods area of New Orleans by the U.S. Marshals Service NOLA Task Force. When U.S. Marshals Service and New Orleans Police Department attempted an arrest, Richards fled from law enforcement across a canal into a New Orleans East neighborhood causing a large manhunt to ensue. Richards was finally located hiding under a shed and refused to surrender resulting in the deployment of a K-9 officer.
- The arrest of Tier 3 Sex Offender Clayton Stonecypher in the 1800 block of Pauline Street New Orleans on an New Orleans Police Department Failure to Register warrant and a LA Parole Violations warrant based on a felony DWI conviction. Stonecypher, whose original conviction was for Attempted Rape, fled out a side window of a residence during the attempted arrest and was later captured. A Crime stoppers Greater New Orleans tip from Operation Boo Dat assisted with the investigation.
- The arrest of Tier 3 Sex Offender Clarence Lee Payne Sr. at a business in Harahan, LA. Payne had been wanted by Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office since August of 2019, for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender and was aware that the U.S. Marshals Service was looking for him. His original conviction involved Sexual Battery on a child.
- The arrest of James E. Muse Jr. on an New Orleans Police Department warrant related to the Aggravated Battery of a teen with a cigarette lighter and Simple Robbery. Muse is currently on LA Parole related to a felony conviction for Enticing Persons Under 17 into Prostitution.
During Operation Boo Dat over 100 sex offender compliance checks were attempted or completed in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. Sex Offender compliance checks require law enforcement officers to go to the sex offender's reported address of residence to verify that the person still lives at the provided address. Often times countless hours of follow up investigative work are required during and after a compliance check.
Via the U.S. Marshals Service Sex Offender Investigations Branch (SOIB) funding was provided to pay for state and local overtime work done during the operation related to both enforcement and compliance checks.
Eastern District of Louisiana U.S. Marshal Scott Illing stated, "the work done during this partnership was impressive and was accomplished during a time period that the New Orleans metro area had to deal with continuing COVID-19 issues and Hurricane Zeta yet the work still got done. I would like to thank Crime stoppers Greater New Orleans for their continuing efforts in making our community safe and thank all of our law enforcement partners for their support. Teamwork is critical in fighting violent crime across the country".
U.S. Marshals New Orleans Task Force is currently committed to looking for fugitive sex offender Kevin Murray Morales (AKA: Kevin David Smith or Michael Morales, white male, 47 years of age, 5'07" 180 lbs.). Morales is still wanted by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office on a March 2020 felony warrant for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Records indicate that the victim of his original sex-based conviction was a child. There are also other fugitives on the Crime stoppers Greater New Orleans Operation Boo Dat photo spread that the U.S. Marshals Service is committed to locating and arresting.
Any information can be provided to the U.S. Marshals Service at (504) 589-6872 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Crime stoppers Greater New Orleans may also be contacted with tips at (504) 822-1111.