Federal law enforcement officials say a three-month cooperative push to apprehend violent fugitives resulted in more than 160 arrests in the St. Louis region.
The U.S. Marshals announced the results of the operation Thursday. They say 16 of those arrested were wanted for homicide, and many were connected to violent gangs in the area.
“Locating these people takes a tremendous effort,” said Jeff Jensen, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, which includes St. Louis. “They are obviously fugitives from justice, so that takes quite a bit of research and investigative skill and surveillance to find them in the first place.”
These type of sweeps began in 2010 and have been conducted in 80 cities since then, said John Jordan, U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Missouri. He said more than 10,000 people have been arrested, and law enforcement has seized 2,000 weapons in those nine years.
Despite the yearly mass arrests, violent crime in the region, especially St. Louis, has increased. But Police Chief John Hayden says they’re still an important tool.
“It’s a process is what I’m saying, so hey, if we just took the persons into custody recently, certainly the activity they’ve been involved in previously, you’ll start to see the results of that in the short term,” he said.
Federal prosecutors will handle 30% to 40% of the cases that result from the arrests. The remaining will be tried in state court. Conviction rates from previous sweeps were not immediately available.
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