168 arrested in sweep by law enforcement - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

168 arrested in sweep by law enforcement

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Over 168 of Tennessee's “violent, dangerous, fugitives” were rounded up in a six-week regional operation spearheaded by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Named the Operation Violence Reduction 7 (VR7) was part of a larger, national operation that resulted in more than 7,100 arrests, according to a news release.

During Operation VR7, the U.S. Marshals focused its approach using the agency’s multi-jurisdictional investigative authority and its fugitive task force networks.

Real-time, ground level intelligence on criminal activity helped the local operation that was concentrated in Hamilton, Blount, Knox, Sevier, and Greene counties.

“Operation VR7 was not about increasing arrest numbers, but rather an effort to further protect communities by targeting the most dangerous felony fugitives,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton. “The approach was quality versus quantity and was strengthened by working with community leaders and local law enforcement to get the worst of the worst fugitives off the streets.”

The criteria for cases investigated during Operation VR7 included fugitives wanted for murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, robbery, aggravated assault, arson, abduction/kidnapping, sexual assault and child molestation.

The operation also focused on apprehending fugitives with three or more prior felony arrests for violent crimes and wanted for narcotics, weapons offenses, assault/battery and threats.

Gang members and sex offenders received high-priority for apprehension.

“Operations like VR7 are a great opportunity to showcase the benefits of our continuing collaboration with other law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local level,” stated Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond. “Through these efforts we are able to improve the safety of our communities by bringing these violent fugitives to justice,” he added.

Chattanooga Police Department Chief Fred Fletcher said in the statement that“We show our commitment to our citizens and their safety through operations like VR7 because not only are these dangerous criminals taken off the streets, but so are drugs and weapons.”

The agencies are members of the U.S. Marshals' Smoky Mountains Fugitive Taskforce:

  • Chattanooga Police Department
  • Hamilton County Sheriffs Office
  • East Ridge Police Department
  • Knox County Sheriffs Office
  • Blount County Sheriffs Office
  • Cocke County Sheriffs Office
  • Washington County Sheriffs Office
  • Sevier County Sheriffs Office
  • Jefferson County Sheriffs Office
  • Tennessee Department of Corrections
  • Knoxville Police Department
  • Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
  • 14th District Drug Task Force
  • Maynardville Police Department
  • United States Secret Service



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