SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN (WITI) -- U.S. Marshals made 34 arrests in Wisconsin in connection with a national warrant initiative called "Operation Violence Reduction" that took place from March 2nd through April 10th.
The operation partnered resources from the U.S. Marshals Eastern District of Wisconsin with several local communities to target some of the most violent wanted fugitives from the area.
Working in Appleton, Sheboygan, Racine and Kenosha, law enforcement officers were able to arrest 34 locally wanted individuals.
Here is a breakdown of the arrests made locally:
More than 7,100 fugitives, gang members, sex offenders and violent criminals were arrested nationwide as part of Operation Violence Reduction.
“The purpose of Operation VR7 was to protect our communities by removing the most dangerous criminals from the streets,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton. “The operation utilized a strategic approach to identify and arrest the most violent wanted felony fugitives quickly in order to see the greatest impact on public safety.”
The narrow criteria for cases adopted and investigated during Operation VR7 included fugitives wanted for murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, robbery, aggravated assault, arson, abduction/kidnapping, sexual assault and child molestation. Additionally, VR7 investigators focused on apprehending fugitives with three or more prior felony arrests for violent crimes and wanted for narcotics, weapons offenses, assault/battery and threats. Gang members and sex offenders received high-priority for apprehension.
The U.S. Marshals strategically focused its approach through use of the agency’s multi-jurisdictional investigative authority and its fugitive task force networks at the regional and local level. The operation was concentrated in seven high density regions and core cities where the U.S. Marshals have established counter gang units. These units provided real time, ground level intelligence on criminal activity.
“Our counter gang units along with our federal, state, and local partners were able to hone in on areas with numerous outstanding warrants, and ensure that apprehension measures were deliberate and effective,” said Chief Inspector John “Buck” Smith, Operation VR7 Commander.
Between March 2nd and April 10th, Operation VR7 resulted in 7,127 arrests, including 750 gang members, and the seizure of 383 firearms and more than 69 kilograms of illegal narcotics. Individual charges included 519 for homicide; 922 for weapons; 1,888 for assault; 583 for sexual assault; 1,093 for robbery; and 2,654 for narcotics.
“By taking these dangerous fugitives off the streets, we hope people feel safer in their communities,” said Hylton. “Many of these fugitives we arrested were repeat offenders, who average eight prior arrests and three prior convictions for violent crimes.”
Additionally, in its ongoing support to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Marshals Service recovered 10 missing children during Operation VR7.
The impact of the operation also benefited surrounding cities and small rural areas outside the targeted regions that faced difficulties dealing with criminal activity perpetrated by these violent offenders.