Raleigh, N.C. — More than 100 probation violators have been arrested in a coordinated effort by several law enforcement agencies.
The U.S. Marshals Service led the operation, dubbed "March Madness," rounding up 109 people and serving 120 warrants. Officers also recovered three firearms, ammunition and counterfeit controlled substances.
Officers had been looking for 950 probation violators and absconders, but members of the Marshals Service's Violent Fugitive Task Force said they consider the sweep a success.
"It's a satisfaction to catch somebody when they try to outsmart us," said Jeffrey Lux, an officer with the state Division of Community Corrections who also serves as a special deputy marshal on the task force. "They're absconders for a reason. Finding them is challenging."
The effort began in February, but most of the offenders were rounded up this week. The Raleigh Police Department, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Sharpsburg Police Department and Wilson Police Department also participated in the operation.
"We have these sweeps because we want them to know that we are coming and they're not going to be able to escape," U.S. Marshal Clyde Cook Jr. said.
The marshals plan to continue working with local law enforcement agencies to search for other fugitives, Cook said.
"It's not over. We'll dust those warrants off and try them again later. We're coming," he said.
"Those offenders who are under supervision, who try to avoid what the courts require them to do, we're all working together to try and bring them back under control and under supervision," said Tim Moose, director of the Division of Community Corrections.
"There's always one more you can go after," Lux said. "Who knows why they abscond in the first place. Some do it for monetary reasons; others do it because they're fed up with the system."