U.S. Marshals sweep nets 94 arrests

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HARDEMAN COUNTY, Tenn. — U.S. Marshals scoured West Tennessee during a two-week take-down and arrested 94 wanted felons as part of a nationwide effort known as “Operation Violence Reduction 7.” “We’re man hunters. That’s our prey,” United States Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee Jeff Holt said. “That’s what we search for, we search for people on the run.” Thousands of violent criminals are now off the streets after the six week operation. Marshal Holt said they focused on felons wanted for violent crimes like homicide, kidnapping and arson.. Officers from all over the south came out to severe warrants, searching houses and getting intelligence along the way. “We have several teams out. One group may get information that’s relayed to the other teams that are closer,” said U.S. Marshals Deputy Owen Woods, during the operation. But catching criminals isn’t as easy as it seems. Sometimes they didn’t surrender. One suspect in Hardeman County ran from officers, but he wasn’t free for long. “We try to set up a perimeter,” deputy Woods said. “Then hopefully we’re going to get a tracking dog in here that will track him.” Wanted on a violation of probation for weapons charges, Ashton Jones eventually surrendered. Woods said. “It’s like putting a puzzle together. The more info you get the quicker it is to narrow down where the person is.” Good information also lead to the arrest of Joe King, wanted on violation of probation for statutory rape. Just one more violent criminal off the street. Marshals said these types of arrests will reduce violent crime in the area. “It wasn’t just about going out and arresting a lot of people,” Marshal Holt said. “It was a targeted number of fugitives that were being sought.” A total of 7,100 fugitives are now in custody because of this operation. Officers on the front lines say it was a job well done. “It was a good day, a normal day,” Woods said. “This is what the warrant squad does. It’s just another day at the office.” Operation Violence Reduction 7 began March 2 and ended April 10. While they were working here in West Tennessee, the Marshal Service was assisted by a number of local sheriff and police departments as well as the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

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