MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - This is the second consecutive year the U.S. Marshals Service has teamed up with local law enforcement. They said their strategy for reducing crime is putting away the criminals who haven't been caught.
"It sends a message that regardless of who you are or at what point in time you may have engaged in your conduct, sooner or later we are going to seek you out, we are going to find you and you are going to jail," said Odessa Police Chief Timothy Burton.
Operation Reduction Violence is what the US Marshal calls it. It is a six week initiative that resulted in over 260 arrests of fugitives, gang members, sex offenders and violent crimes in the western district of Texas. Of those arrests 112 were from the Odessa and Midland area.
"Midland, Odessa area had the most arrests in the entire western district of Texas," said U.S. Marshal Robert Almonte.
These are criminals who not only have a warrant for their arrest but who have three or more previous felony arrests for crimes such as murder, attempted murder, robbery and aggravated assault.
"As the U.S. Marshal stated and as the numbers indicate, we're sending the message here very strongly that we're serious about doing something about violent crime and violent criminals," said Burton.
"We go after the worst of the worst, the violent criminal, the child predators. The target that we identify in the operation violence reduction operation are even worse than those," said Almonte.
Notable arrests from the Midland, Odessa area include Sebastian Romero, who allegedly had sexual contact with a child under the age of seven, Nick Valentine Larez, wanted for sexually assaulting a female under the age of fifteen and Meghan Leanne Garza, wanted for 12 counts of attempted capital murder of a police officer.
The operation in total captured more than 8,000 fugitives all around the U.S.