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Nearly 1,500 Arrests Made In Justice Dept. Violence Reduction Operation

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday hailed a month-long federal operation that led to the arrest of 1,501 fugitives and suspected sex offenders and gang members in 10 large U.S. cities, pledging that the Justice Department will do more to confront surging rates of violent crime. The U.S. Marshals Service focused Operation North Star on municipalities with high rates of homicides and gun violence, including D.C., Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Baltimore, the Washington post reports. The effort aimed to apprehend those believed to have committed the most violent offenses, prioritizing suspects who allegedly used firearms, officials said. Garland, who was briefed on the operation Wednesday morning, hailed the effort as a step toward protecting communities and ending “the plague of gun violence.”


The Marshals Service launched the operation in June, apprehending suspects allegedly involved in 230 homicide counts and 131 sexual assault counts. Investigators seized 166 firearms, more than $53,600 in currency, and more than 33 kilograms of illegal narcotics. Amid a spike in gun violence, Garland has sought to bolster public confidence that the Justice Department is doing more to combat rising crime. Last year, he announced the creation of special task forces in several cities to target gun trafficking. There were many notable arrests that resulted from the operation. Among those arrested were three suspects in a mass shooting in Philadelphia last month, after a fistfight escalated into gun violence. Authorities also arrested Prince Cunningham, 49, for a 2003 cold case homicide, as well as Dionte Mitchell, 22, charged with two counts of homicide in the fatal shooting of two women after a dispute at a party in South Carolina last year. The goal of the initiative, Garland said, was “to remove from the streets those individuals who are the most significant drivers of violent crime. We find this to be the most successful and swiftest way to bring that violence under control.”