National News

MCSO books 130 fugitives in massive roundup

Posted August 30

— The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has booked 130 fugitives during a massive roundup, aimed at clearing some of the county's 30,000 felony arrest warrants.

During Operation Purge, FBI crime analysts helped the county review and research 3,700 active warrants.

ABC15 received exclusive access, riding along with MCSO's new Fugitive Apprehension Team for an entire day.

The team prioritized warrants for serious crimes against people, including homicide, aggravated assault, sex crimes, robbery, and burglary.

"We're not just going after your guy who didn't pay a fine or somebody's got outstanding tickets," MCSO Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez said. "We're going after individuals who've been on the run, who are going to elude police, and at the end of the day, who are probably going to set up some type of resistance."

Of the 3,700 warrants reviewed, 877 of the fugitives were believed to be in Maricopa County.

According to an MCSO spokesman, 130 people were apprehended, 155 were dead, and 180 were already in jail or prison. Hundreds of wanted men and women are now believed to be living in other states.

Investigators continue to follow up leads.

"We brief different locations and who we're going to try to find each day," Det. Sal Sanfillippo said. "If we have a real good day, we get people in custody; if we don't, wake up and try again the next day."

Sheriff Paul Penzone, aware of the huge backlog of unserved arrest warrants, created the FATE fugitive team after he took office this year.

Operation Purge is a nationwide partnership between local law enforcement and the FBI.

In a concentrated effort, FBI analysts identify outstanding warrants in high profile cases, and they assist local agencies in executing the arrests.

Sixteen agencies participated in the Maricopa County roundup, which lasted several weeks.

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