Thousands of violent repeat offenders arrested in nationwide sweep

WASHINGTON -- Federal investigators and local police arrested more than 8,000 fugitives wanted on charges ranging from murder to rape during a recent six-week sweep in some of the nation's most crime-ravaged cities, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said at a news conference in Washington that the U.S. Marshals Service and local police nabbed more than 500 fugitives on murder charges and another 946 accused of sex offenses. At least 600 alleged gang members were also taken into custody, she said.

The average suspect, Yates said, had a rap sheet of at least seven prior arrests and three convictions for violent crimes.

Yates said deputy U.S. marshals and local police focused on capturing repeat offenders who have demonstrated a proclivity for violence and who resided in 12 cities, including Chicago, Baltimore, Oakland, Calif., and Compton, Calif.

The operation, she said, "was designed to help our local communities across this country combat violent crime by getting the most dangerous criminals and repeat offenders off the streets."

Yates was joined at the news conference by Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, whose city has been battling a major spike in deadly violence. Last year, the city recorded its deadliest year on a per-capita basis when it tallied 344 killings.

"We have violent repeat offenders who kill again and again," Davis said. "The impact of getting them off the street as quickly as possible is paramount in a city like Baltimore."