There’s the good, the bad, and the ugly — and there’s “the worst of the worst” New York City violent criminals who were rounded up in a joint federal and NYPD operation recently.
Dubbed Operation North Star, the 30-day enterprise between the NYPD and the U.S. Marshals Services targeted 339 individuals wanted for serious crimes such as homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and more.
“Today, we are announcing the results of a focused, collective effort to bring some of New York City’s most violent wanted criminals to justice. This month-long nationwide operation is a perfect example of how public safety is definitely a shared responsibility. It takes all of us working together,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at One Police Plaza during a July 6 press conference announcing the operation.
According to the U.S. Marshals Service, the warrants prioritized offenders with firearm history and other violent risk factors.
The operation took place in 10 cities across the nation such as New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and more, and were selected due to increases in homicides and or shootings. But New York City, however, led the pack with the most fugitive arrests, at 339.
Sewell highlighted the concern that one-third of arrests made during the high impact Fugitive Apprehension initiative involved criminals who had failed to appear in court after having previously been arrested.
For Sewell, this places a focal point on the communities they return to.
The operation took place throughout the month of June, and was deemed a success by the head U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of New York, Ralph Sozio.
According to Regional Fugitive Task Force Commander, Chief Inspector Ed McMahon, the 30-day raids saw 1,400 fugitive apprehensions across the nation, including 234 homicide arrests. For New York City itself, McMahon said the force attempted to hit violent crime hard.
“They developed the strategy to concentrate on the areas of the city that would have the greatest impact on violent crime. Therefore, our efforts are focused on the Bronx and northern Manhattan,” McMahon said, explaining that it did not stop there.
“We made apprehensions of violent criminals in Brooklyn, Queens, and also out of state fugitives who came to New York who were wanted for murder we also apprehended,” he added.
Despite the success, McMahon explained, the operation was so demanding that the process would burn through law enforcement agents, as they wound up performing double duty; neither the NYPD nor the U.S. Marshals, he noted, had the proper resources to keep up with the initiative’s high demand.
North Star was also said to have helped close high-profile cases, such as Isaac Argro who murdered Azsia Johnson on the Upper East Side, however, this was not included in the stats as it took place outside of the 30 days.
Sewell used this operation as a warning to all those attempting to escape the law.
“If you commit a violent felony in our city, we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will build the case to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” Sewell said.