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More than 10,700 snared in fugitive roundup

Published November 3, 2006


WASHINGTON - Nearly 11,000 sex offenders, gang members and other fugitives were swept up in what the Justice Department on Thursday called a sting targeting the "worst of the worst" criminals on the run.

Last week's roundup, led by the U.S. Marshals Service, included Allen Marksberry, an unregistered sex offender in Rickman, Tenn., who was baby-sitting several young children when he was arrested on Oct. 24.

Also arrested were Demetrius Avery Jackson, a suspect in the death of a Birmingham, Ala., police officer, and Eric Dewayne Meneese, an alleged Crips gang member in Nashville, Tenn.

The roundup, in 24 states east of the Mississippi River, targeted "the worst of the worst fugitive felons in the country," Attorney General Albert Gonzales said at a Washington news conference.

"America's neighborhoods are safer today, thanks to Operation Falcon III," Gonzales said.

Two earlier stings - Falcons I and II - were held in April the past two years.

In all, Gonzales said officials caught 10,773 fugitives - including 1,659 sex offenders, 364 gang members and thousands of others sought on kidnapping, robbery, burglary, carjacking and weapons charges. More than 230 weapons were seized.

Of the sex offenders arrested, 971 had failed to register with authorities as required by law - what Gonzales called the largest number ever captured in a single law enforcement effort.

Gonzales said prosecutors likely would seek to charge some of them under the 2006 Adam Walsh Act. That law, approved by Congress last summer, created federal penalties for sex offenders who fail register with communities.

The law was named for 6-year-old Adam Walsh, who was abducted from a Florida shopping mall and murdered in 1981.

[Last modified November 3, 2006, 02:14:49]

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