The U.S. Marshals Service announced the arrests of 140 “violent fugitives” during a gang enforcement sting in Phoenix, Arizona.
Between Aug. 10 and Sept. 17, the service said the 140 individuals were arrested in connection to gang violence as part of “Operation Snake Eyes.”
“One issue that most people will agree with while debating police issues, is that those who intentionally and indiscriminately cause harm, murder, and terrorize citizens should be a priority of the criminal justice system. Operation Snake Eyes focused on gang members, violent criminals, and communities with a high degree of violent gun related crimes,” said U.S. Marshal David Gonzales.
“This evidence-based approach to violent crime has shown to be an effective strategy in reducing crime and helping in make our communities safer,” he added.
Officials said that 51 people who were arrested are gang members, and meanwhile, some 130 firearms were confiscated as well as $145,000 in cash and 3,200 fake fentanyl pills.
“I am proud of the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department for their dedication to our community,” said Phoenix Police Department Chief Jerry Williams in a statement, according to AZFamily. “Investigations like these bring so many partners together to address common crime trends in each of our cities. Working with intelligence driven information allow us to specifically target those individuals who are responsible for crimes which often result in violence.”
Gonzales noted to KTAR News that police departments in the Phoenix area “have noticed an uptick in gang presence, shootings and homicides” before the operation was conducted. “Operation Snake Eyes was an enforcement initiative to arrest some of the most violent gang persons committing a lot of crimes in certain communities.”
They noted that crime spikes during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreak and George Floyd riots precipitated their operation.
“Police officers are being used for demonstrations and protest duty and that leaves some neighborhoods short of police officers to investigate these crimes,” he said.
Detectives, troopers, agents, prosecutors, and deputy marshals from the Phoenix Police Department, Glendale Police Department, Mesa Police Department, Tempe Police Department, the Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the United States Attorney’s Office were involved in the operation.
It comes in the midst of several U.S. Marshals-led operations around the United States, which have mainly focused on human trafficking.
On Sept. 21, the service said that 35 children were rescued in northern Ohio as part of “Operation Safety Net.”
“Of the 40 missing cases referred to the Marshals Task Force only five cases remain open. Members of the task force and its local partners will continue to work over the next several weeks to bring these five remaining children and other children to safety,” the Marshals Service stated at the time.