National News

130 fugitives apprehended in 'Operation Purge'

Posted August 30

— A Valley-wide effort to get criminals off the streets is being called a big success.

"Operation Purge" was designed to target and arrest felons on the run.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other Valley police departments made 130 arrests of violent criminals and cleared another 355 felony warrants in July and August as part of Operation Purge.

Targeted individuals were wanted for homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery and burglary.

MCSO's Fugitive Apprehension Team (FATE) took 14 into custody. Many of those now in jail had been arrested previously, were released on bond, and failed to appear for court hearings.

"The fastest way to make communities safe is to arrest known violent criminals," said Sheriff Paul Penzone. "This is a priority for MCSO and for all local law enforcement. Our multi-agency operation got felons out of neighborhoods all over the Valley."

Operation Purge is a nationwide partnership between local law enforcement and the FBI. In an intense and concentrated effort, FBI analysts identify outstanding warrants in high profile cases, then they and local agencies executed the arrests.

Operation Purge concentrated on approximately 3,700 felony warrants and cleared 465, either through arrest, or the individuals were determined to be deceased or already incarcerated.

Additionally, FBI analysis identified approximately 800 individuals, with felony warrants, believed to be living outside of Arizona. The FBI, working with state, federal and local law enforcement agencies, believes these cases have high potential for follow-up and arrests. Participating police departments include MCSO, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Gilbert, Buckeye, Paradise Valley and Chandler.

Operation Purge Numbers – figures from the Phoenix Field Office of the FBI:

Approximately 3,700 felony warrants reviewed and researched:

877 believed to be located within Maricopa County of which 130 apprehended. The remaining are still being sought and investigated.

155 deceased

180 incarcerated

78 located outside Maricopa County but in Arizona

799 believed to be located outside Arizona

1,611 seeking location

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