Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Fleeing Fugitives Arrested in Rural Washington County

Fort Smith, AR – The U.S. Marshals led Western Arkansas Fugitive Task Force, along with the Springdale Police Department and Washington County Sheriff’s Office, arrested Odell Rhodes in the Hickory Flat area in East Washington County on Thursday afternoon. Rhodes was wanted by the Springdale Police Department on theft charges and fleeing from law enforcement in a motor vehicle. He was also wanted by state probation and parole for absconding. Rhodes may also be facing other charges in multiple jurisdictions.

During the week of Jan. 15, Springdale Police and Deputy U. S. Marshals developed information that indicated Rhodes could be in the East Washington County area. The WATF then initiated an investigation that led them to an address on Hickory Flat Road where the suspect was arrested along with two other individuals who were wanted by state probation and parole for absconding.

Rhodes and the other two suspects, later identified as Dasha Castleman and Stephanie Rhodes, were captured when they attempted to flee officers from the Hickory Flat location by running into the woods. Deputy U.S. Marshals and Task Force Officers had hiked up the steep earlier that day and were waiting on them. All three were arrested and were transported to the Washington County Jail where they were being held on Thursday evening.

The WAFTF is composed of members of the U.S. Marshals Service, Arkansas State Police, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Greenwood Police Department, and Springdale Police Department. The WAFTF serves the citizens of Western Arkansas by locating and arresting fugitives wanted for violent crimes.

Today’s 'Fugitive of the Week' Arrested by U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force

Concord, NH - Shortly after being featured as today’s “Fugitive of the Week,” Scott Cross, 56, was arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force in Manchester.

Information was quickly developed indicating that Mr. Cross was residing in an apartment at a residence in the 50 block of Ash Street in Manchester, NH. Several members of the fugitive task force responded to this residence, where it was determined that Cross was inside of the apartment and refusing to open the door. The fugitive task force was able to force entry into the apartment, where Mr. Cross was located and arrested without further incident. This arrest was a combined effort of several agencies that are members of the fugitive task force including; Belknap, Hillsborough. Rockingham & Strafford County Sheriff’s Offices, Federal Protective Service and deputy U.S. Marshals.

Mr. Cross was wanted on a federal arrest warrant for supervised release violations stemming from an original conviction and sentence for failing to register as a sex offender. Cross is required to register as a sex offender due to a 1992 New Hampshire conviction for aggravated felonious sexual assault. Mr. Cross was transported to the U.S. District Court in Concord, NH, where he will be processed and held pending his initial court appearance at later time today.

Scott Cross had been featured just this morning as the “Fugitive of the Week” (January 24, 2017). The “Fugitive of the Week” had been aired on WTPL-FM, WMUR-TV, The Union Leader, The Nashua Telegraph, The Patch, Foster’s Daily Democrat, Manchester Information, the Manchester Ink Link and prominently featured on the internet. The “Fugitive of the Week” has been a very successful tool that has resulted in the location and arrest of numerous fugitives since its implementation in 2007. Additionally, the “Fugitive of the Week” is distributed statewide to all law enforcement officers.

Since the inception of the New Hampshire Joint Fugitive Task Force in 2002, these partnerships have resulted in over 7,029 arrests (Updated as of 12/18/2017). These arrests have ranged in seriousness from murder, assault, unregistered sex offenders, probation and parole violations and numerous other serious offenses. Nationally the United States Marshals Service fugitive programs are carried out with local law enforcement in 94 district offices, 85 local fugitive task forces, 8 regional task forces, as well as a growing network of offices in foreign countries.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Attorney General Sessions Announces New Tool to Fight Online Drug Trafficking

Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced a new resource to help federal law enforcement disrupt online illicit opioid sales, the Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team.

“Criminals think that they are safe on the darknet, but they are in for a rude awakening,” Attorney General Sessions said.  “We have already infiltrated their networks, and we are determined to bring them to justice.  In the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in American history, the FBI and the Department of Justice are stepping up our investment in fighting opioid-related crimes.  The J-CODE team will help us continue to shut down the online marketplaces that drug traffickers use and ultimately that will help us reduce addiction and overdoses across the nation.”

J-CODE will more than double the FBI’s investment in fighting online opioid trafficking.  The FBI is dedicating dozens more Special Agents, Intelligence Analysts, and professional staff to J-CODE so that they can focus on this one issue of online opioid trafficking.

In July 2017, Attorney General Sessions announced the seizure of the largest dark net marketplace in history.  This site hosted some 220,000 drug listings and was responsible for countless synthetic opioid overdoses, including the tragic death of a 13 year old.

In August 2017, Attorney General Sessions ordered the creation of a new data analytics program, the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, to focus specifically on investigating opioid-related health care fraud.  The same day, he assigned a dozen prosecutors to “hot spot” districts—where opioid addiction is especially prevalent—to focus solely on investigating and prosecuting opioid-related health care fraud.

In November, Attorney General Sessions ordered all 94 U.S. Attorney offices to designate an opioid coordinator who will customize federal law enforcement’s anti-opioid strategy in their district.