Nearly 300 fugitives arrested in Phoenix area

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By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman

PHOENIX -- Federal authorities say a four-day fugitive roundup have taken nearly 300 dangerous criminals off Phoenix-area streets.

Nearly 30 law enforcement agencies across Maricopa and Pinal counties participated in "Operation Justice."

U.S. Marshal for the District of Arizona David Gonzales says the operation targeted career criminals.

"There is a disturbing trend in Arizona of the increased use of violence involving fugitives and career criminals," Gonzales said in a statement. "The recent tragic deaths and assaults on police officers is a testament to the desperation of fugitives on the run."

The 273 fugitives arrested included Ronald Clark, who is accused of holding a toddler at gunpoint during a home invasion.

Other fugitives arrested included James Lane, wanted on suspicion of sexual assault and kidnapping, as well as for questioning in connection with a Glendale sexual assault case from 1992, according to authorities.

Officers said they also arrested Richard Swenson, who allegedly failed to appear in court on charges of dangerous drugs. They tracked Swenson to a home where three other wanted fugitives were living. The three other fugitives were all arrested after two attempted to escape.

Of the 273 people arrested, 139 stemmed from drug charges, 23 from sex offenses, 22 from aggravated assault, eight from robbery, seven from weapons offenses, two from kidnapping and one from homicide, according to authorities. Officers also seized 11 guns, 2 lbs. of marijuana, 23 grams of heroin and 20 grams of meth.

Authorities say the operation targeted more than 1,000 fugitives wanted for higher level felony crimes, including robbery, rape, dangerous drugs and assault.

The arrests were made between April 1 and April 4 out of the more than 30,000 outstanding warrants in Maricopa County.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week

OPERATION JUSTICE VI STATS

FUGITIVES ARRESTED: 273
WARRANTS CLEARED: 336

Aggravated Assault 22
Drug Offenses 139
Weapons Offenses 7
Homicide 1
Kidnapping 2
Robbery 8
Sex Offenses 23
SEIZED Firearms 11
SEIZED Drugs Marijuana (2 lbs.), Heroin (23 grams), Meth (20 grams)

Operation Justice VI
April 1 to April 4, 2014
District of Arizona

The Associated Press contributed to this report.