U.S. Marshals Office Press Release
MIDLAND – More than 100 fugitives, gang members, sex offenders and violent criminals are off the streets in the Midland/Odessa area as a result of Operation Violence Reduction7 (VR7), a six-week long U.S. Marshals-led enforcement initiative conducted to reduce violent crime. These operations were a part of the USMS national initiative which resulted in more than 7,100 arrests.
"Operation VR7 was not about increasing arrest numbers, but rather an effort to further protect communities by targeting the most dangerous felony fugitives," said U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton. "The approach was quality versus quantity and was strengthened by working with community leaders and local law enforcement to get the worst of the worst fugitives off the streets."
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.
During Operation VR7, the U.S. Marshals strategically focused its approach through use of the agency's multi-jurisdictional investigative authority and its fugitive task force networks. The local operation was concentrated in the Midland/Odessa using real time, ground level intelligence on criminal activity.
"With the assistance of local and state law enforcement agencies, we were able to make our streets a safer place. We will continue to work together to keep our citizens safe from those that choose to violate the law," said U.S. Marshal Robert R. Almonte-Western District of Texas.
Between March 2 and April 10, 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. Additionally, 10 missing children were recovered. Locally a total of 122 fugitives were arrested. Those arrests included 12 for Aggravated Assault, 12 for Sexual Assault/Indecency with a Child, 6 for Robbery and 5 for Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Compliance.
"By taking dangerous fugitives off the streets and seizing illegal narcotics and currency, we put an immediate end to their unlawful activities," said U.S. Marshal Robert R. Almonte-Western District of Texas. "This is significant, since many of these fugitives are repeat offenders."