US Marshals arrest 260 in southeast Wisconsin; 'violent criminals'

As Milwaukee prepares for the Republican National Convention (RNC), law enforcement is trying to clean up the streets. 

Just after the sun rose over the city a couple of weeks ago, U.S. Marshals finished up a months-long mission. They met for a briefing – and learned about their first target for the day. FOX6 News was the only television station able to ride along.

Task Force Officer Jake was our guide. The opportunity provided a front-row seat to what was being called Operation Big Top – targeting some of the area's most violent fugitives as the RNC approaches. 

"Many of these people who are avoiding capture that are out on these warrants are continuing to engage in criminal activity. For that reason, it makes this mission even more important," Task Force Officer Jake said. 

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Start of Operation Big Top

The operation began April 1 and has led to 260 arrests – 29 connected to homicides. 

"You’ve got people from all over the country going to be showing up to Milwaukee and we wanted to at least do our small part in trying to curb some of the violence that occurs within the city," said Scott Keller, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal.

The first stop was on Milwaukee's north side. Marshals surrounded a home near 13th and Keefe. They were looking for a man known as "Blue" – who is wanted for a sex offender registry violation. Someone came to the door and marshals went inside. Minutes later, they came out with the 61-year-old in cuffs. He was taken away. 

The crew then headed to another house. They were looking for a man wanted on an out-of-state warrant. He is accused of sexually assaulting a disabled person. 

"Luckily, the target made the best decision possible, which is just come to the door and surrender accordingly," Task Force Officer Jake said. 

The next home was not as successful. After several minutes and a search inside, the marshals were not able to find a man wanted for felony battery.

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The group moved along to West Allis – and things got complicated. The marshals surrounded an apartment and worked their way inside – navigating the complex layout. While the U.S. Marshals were searching the apartment, they didn't find the man they were looking for. But they say they did find what's suspected to be a large amount of marijuana and mushrooms in the building. After FOX6 News left, the fugitive showed up. He was arrested. 

The final stop on the day was on Milwaukee's south side. Marshals looked for a man they said was involved in several gun investigations. He was wanted for a parole violation. After multiple demands to open the door, marshals forced their way in. A woman and two kids were led out as the team made their way to the upper unit. Marshals forced their way through another door and arrested the 25-year-old. Officials said they found drugs and ammunition in the home – and a gun in a car. 

"I think today was a success. We ended up securing multiple targets, which is always our goal when we go out on these operations," Task Force Officer Jake said. 

Operation Big Top results

  • Total Arrests: 260 (29 on Homicide)
  • Warrants Cleared: 437
  • Gang members: 28
  • Firearms seized: 83
  • Narcotics seized: 132.8 kg
  • U.S. Currency seized: $84,547.00
  • Vehicles seized: 1