Ken Paxton

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Attorney General Abbott's Fugitive Unit Makes Arrests As Part Of Operation Falcon Two Nationwide

AUSTIN Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Fugitive Unit played a key role in "Operation FALCON II," a nationwide roundup of convicted felons-turned-fugitives that netted more than 9,000 arrests nationwide from April 17 to April 23.

Attorney General Abbott’s Fugitive Unit investigators assisted federal law enforcement officials in the national sweep, arresting almost 900 fugitives in counties within the U.S. Marshal’s Western District of Texas, including almost 300 violent offenders in the Austin area who have evaded justice. The Fugitive Unit tracked down 38 felon fugitives that included 44-year-old Gregory Zepher of Georgetown, who was convicted of robbery in 1994, and Willie Dan Majors of Killeen, 22, who was convicted of unlawfully carrying a weapon in 2004.

"Taking dangerous criminals off the streets and helping law enforcement officers round up fugitives who evade justice have been key priorities of mine since taking office," said Attorney General Abbott. "We need to consolidate our efforts in this way to protect Texans who fall prey to these offenders."

U.S. Marshal LaFayette Collins of the Western District of Texas was joined by Fugitive Unit investigators, including Criminal Investigations Assistant Division Chief Pete LaFuente, Captain Jeff Bishop, and Sergeant Wesley Hensley, to announce the results of Operation FALCON II today in Austin. The acronym stands for "Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally."

The fugitives arrested were wanted on a variety of state and federal warrants. Many have been charged with sexual assault, but others were wanted for murder, robbery, gang activity and other offenses.

The Western District of the U.S. Marshal’s service area comprises the counties of Andrews, Atascosa, Bandera, Bastrop, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Bosque, Brewster, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Comal, Coryell, Crane, Culberson, Dimmit, Ector, Edwards, El Paso, Falls, Freestone, Frio, Gillespie, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hamilton, Hays, Hill, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Lampasas, Lee, Leon, Limestone, Llano, Loving, Martin, Mason, Maverick, McCulloch, McLennan, Medina, Midland, Milam, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Robertson, San Saba, Somervell, Terrell, Travis, Upton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, Washington, Williamson, Wilson, Winkler and Zavala.

Attorney General Abbott created the Fugitive Unit in August 2003 as a way to help local law enforcement officers and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice track down and apprehend those convicted of child sex offenses who had failed to report to parole officers, as required by law.

To date, the Fugitive Unit has made 432 arrests in Texas, including sex offenders, Louisiana Hurricane Katrina fugitives, and Texas parolees who disappeared during the Hurricane Rita evacuation.