By Jen Kastner
PERMIAN BASIN- Over the past year, NewsWest 9 has consistently been following the growth of the sex offender population in the Basin. We've talked with both city and county law enforcement about how they're dealing with the influx of predators. On Thursday, the Midland-based U.S. Marshals Service, a federal law enforcement agency, gave NewsWest 9 their perspective on the situation.
"There is nothing, in my opinion, [that's] more thrilling than taking a violent offender off the street," says one of the deputies, who wishes to remain anonymous.
One of the most violent offenders on the streets of the Basin right now, is the sex predator, and the boom is bringing with it more of them.
Over just the past few months, the U.S. Marshals Service, based out of the Midland Federal Courthouse, has experienced a significant increase in the number of sex predators they're having to track down.
"Some of them are new cases that have been indicted. Some of them are cases where the person who was convicted is now on probation or parole or under some type of supervision, even pretrial release. The majority, I'd say half if not more, are probably crimes against children and sometimes the suspect in the case is 18 years-old and the child is 15 or 14 years-old. Sometimes the suspect is 35 or 40 years-old or 50 years-old and the child is 8, 9, 10 or 12 years-old," he said.
"The increase has caused more 'man hours' from our office, which has caused more 'man hours' to be put into these cases from our partner agencies as well," the deputy said.
The U.S. Marshals Service wants to drive the point home, that everyone, especially now, needs to be mindful of this growing population.
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