U.S. Marshals in Iowa got some help from local law enforcement and nabbed one-hundred-77 fugitives last week. It was part of a nationwide manhunt dubbed “operation falcon” — a search for people who were wanted for a variety of violent crimes. Roger Arechiga, the U.S. Marshall for the Northern District of Iowa, says with the help of Linn County and Cedar Rapids law enforcement, 92 people who were wanted in the Cedar Rapids area were arrested. “We were quite shocked and we anticipated we might only get 40 and that would be successful,” Arechiga says. “We arrested 92 people in seven days due to the fact that (local law enforcement) were so persistent. They would work 12 hour days, including Saturday and Sunday.” He picked the Cedar Rapids metro as the target for a couple of reasons. Arechiga says local officers of the law in Cedar Rapids were “aggressive” and willing to help, plus the Linn County Jail had some space to take in these fugitives who were arrested in the sweep. “A majority of these people were fairly easy to find, but their relatives and friends would lie for them and we’d have to come back two and three times to try to find the individual and explain the harboring (laws) to their relatives and friends and even put up surveillance at night to try to catch the individual coming home his at night,” he says. Mike Powell, a deputy U.S. Marshall for Iowa’s Southern District, says 85 fugitives were caught in their raids in the Des Moines area. “We did have a few (who) tried to hide in girlfriend’s bedrooms, under beds, in crawl spaces, that type of thing,” Powell says. He says partnering with state and local law enforcement and “hitting the bricks hard” paid off. Matthew Whitaker, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, praised the officers who participated in the week-long effort. “I really appreciate you every day putting your life on the line, never knowing what is going to happen when the car is pulled over, the door is opened or someone is confronted,” Whittaker says. Both sting operations had about three times the usual manpower with local cops, sheriff’s deputies and some state agents helping the U.S. Marshals catch the fugitives. The Northern District sting in the Cedar Rapids area caught 92 fugitives in a week — compared to the 22 arrested in the region in all of March. The Southern District sting in the Des Moines area caught 85 fugitives last week — compared to the 34 fugitives caught in the southern half of Iowa last month.
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