BOSTON, WORCESTER, AND SPRINGFIELD, Mass., (PRNewswire) – Deputy United States Marshals teamed up with thousands of fellow federal,
state, and local law enforcement agencies to conduct the largest ever round up of fugitive sex-offenders and wanted gang members. Dubbed “Operation FALCON III” (Federal And Local Cops Organized Nationally), Deputy Marshals and their fellow task force members arrested 10,773 felony fugitives. This number includes 1,659 sex offenders and 364 documented gang members.
“These numbers mean safer streets for the citizens of communities all over this country,” said Marshals Service Director John Clark. “We have not
only brought those wanted fugitives to justice, but we have hopefully brought a bit of peace to their communities.”
In the District of Massachusetts, one of those fugitives was Brian Berlo, who was wanted by officials in New Hampshire for the crimes of Felonious Sexual Assault, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Lewd & Lascivious Acts with a Minor, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and Possession of a Controlled Drug. An indictment was handed down in July of 2006 alleging that from December 2004 through May of 2005, Berlo repeatedly sodomized a 14-year-old male on several occasions. It is also alleged that Berlo provided alcohol and Marijuana to the victim prior to sexually assaulting him. On October 22, 2006, Meredith, NH Police requested the assistance of The U.S. Marshals Service in efforts to apprehend Berlo.
Berlo was arrested on October 26, 2006, by members of a United States Marshals led task force and transported to the Easton Police Department where he was booked as a Fugitive from Justice. At the time of his arrest, Berlo was out on $10,000.00 bail stemming from a 2005 OUI case pending in Dedham District Court. Berlo, who has an extensive criminal history in Massachusetts, was also in possession of a small quantity of Cocaine at the time of his arrest. Berlo was brought to Taunton, MA District Court where bail has been set at $500,000.00 on the charge of being a Fugitive from Justice. Berlo is currently awaiting rendition to N.H.
“What is impressive about the Brian Berlo investigation is the speed at which the investigation proceeded once handed over to the United States Marshals Service,” said Acting United States Marshal William Fallon. “With little information to go on, a U.S. Marshals led team of officers, were able to track down and arrest Berlo within a matter of a few hours. The additional manpower, along with an incredible effort of coordination made possible by Falcon III, allowed us to investigate the case quickly and with greater efficiency.”
Honing in on sexual predators and fugitive gang members, Operation FALCON III’s success comes on the heels of the “Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act,” which was signed into law by President Bush on July 27, 2006. The Act makes it a federal felony, punishable by up to ten years imprisonment, for convicted sex offenders who fail to register and who travel in interstate or foreign commerce. The U.S. Marshals Service was designated by the Act as the agency to lead the national effort to track down and arrest these fugitive felons.
“Protecting the most innocent among us is more important than anything else we in law enforcement do,” stated U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan for the District of Massachusetts. “Individuals who are charged criminally yet remain at-large not only undermine public safety but also erode the public’s confidence in the justice system. It is essential to the integrity of our system of justice that persons who are charged, especially violent sex offenders, are apprehended and entered into the court system swiftly. The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act will help us prevent depraved criminals who hurt our children from striking again.”
“The Attorney General and the Director consider Operation FALCON III to be a significant event marking the Department’s effort to combat sex offenders and crimes against children in conjunction with the Adam Walsh Act,” said Arthur D. Roderick, the Marshals Service’s Assistant Director for Investigative Services.
“There is no question the collective criminal investigative resources of the Marshals and our federal, state, and local partners made a major contribution to this important crime initiative,” he said.
“Operation FALCON has once again proven how much we can accomplish with our network of federal, state and local law enforcement,” said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. “This operation has made our nation’s neighborhoods and children safer by taking off the streets some of the worst sex offenders, violent felons and gang members.”
Locally, the District of Massachusetts cleared 591 warrants including 78 for sex offenses; 73 gang related arrests; 1 for homicide; 152 for assaults and 98 for narcotics.
“This operation, along with our past FALCON efforts, provides a clear indication of what law enforcement agencies can accomplish when there is cooperation on all levels-federal, state and local,” said Fallon. “When we share information and pool our resources towards a common goal, the results are safer communities for our children and a more secure homeland.”
Fugitives whose cases were adopted by Operation FALCON III were sought by the Marshals Service, Boston Police Department, Springfield Police Department, Worcester Police Department and numerous other federal, state, and local agencies, United States Attorneys, and courts at every level of government. Additionally, Operation FALCON task force members handled cases referred by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as well as those of foreign fugitives believed to be in this country. The Marshals Service also received support from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force at the Department of Justice.
Interpol and the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service assisted in the investigations of persons wanted by law enforcement worldwide. Seven foreign and seven international fugitives who were arrested during Operation FALCON III now face deportation or extradition proceedings.
Clark expressed his deep gratitude to officers from every agency that participated in Operation FALCON III.
“I applaud the accomplishments of every deputy Marshal, police officer, detective, trooper, investigator, deputy sheriff, and special agent who put their investigative efforts to the test and their lives on the line to make communities across the country safe,” Clark said. “For many of these men and women participating in FALCON III, they were just doing their jobs; but I’m sure families across the country would beg to differ, especially when it comes to the safety of our children.”