TUCSON, AZ (KOLD/3TV/CBS 5) − From October thru Dec. 2018, the U.S. Marshals Service led a strategic gang enforcement operation which resulted in 182 violent gang members and gang member associates arrested, 27 firearms seized, and pounds of illegal drugs taken off the streets of Arizona communities.
Dubbed Operation Triple Beam, the three-month long enforcement initiative involved 15 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies from Maricopa and Pima counties.
The goal of the operation was to focus on communities impacted by significant gang presence and target the most violent gang members and organizations in an effort to combat crime and violence associated with gang activity.
The operation employed a systematic and sustained approach to target and arrest fugitives wanted for higher level felony crimes including homicide, robbery, weapons offenses, dangerous drugs and aggravated assault.
“Operation Triple Beam has proven to be a powerful tool in our efforts to reduce gang violence by targeting gang leadership and those actively involved in criminal enterprises,” said United States Marshal David Gonzales. “The success of this particular operation is a perfect example of how collaboration with our law enforcement partners further protects our communities against violent gangs.”
In 2010, the United States Marshals Service identified gangs as a priority within its violent crime reduction strategy and made a commitment to reinvigorate its gang enforcement efforts.
As a result, Operation Triple Beam was created with an emphasis on three main areas: fugitive investigations; targeted firearm and drug investigations (the tools of the trade for gang members); and proactive street investigations and patrols.
“Phoenix police works closely with our federal partners whenever possible, especially when it concerns the safety of those living in and visiting Phoenix,” said Phoenix Police Department Chief, Jeri L. Williams. “We are proud of the work done on a regular basis by our employees and partner law enforcement agencies.”
Communities are made safer by this unique cooperative relationship with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to locate and apprehend the criminals most responsible for crime and violence in those communities.
“Chandler police is proud to contribute to the enforcement efforts of Operation Triple Beam and disrupt gang violence,” said Chandler Police Department Chief, Sean Duggan. “We continue to support our federal partners from the U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies to collectively make our communities safer.”
Operation Triple Beam proved to be an effective initiative with arrests totaling 182 throughout Maricopa and Pima counties. Of the 182 fugitives arrested, offenses include 7 for homicide, 21 for weapons offenses, 8 for robbery, 21 for aggravated assault, and 102 for dangerous drugs. Officers seized $29,324 cash, 27 firearms, and 11 pounds of heroin, 300 fentanyl pills and over 6 pounds of methamphetamines.
The U.S. Marshals listed three distinct arrests that are examples of the type of criminals focused on during the operation:
Suspect: Jones, Ricky
Ricky Jones was arrested during Operation Triple Beam for the charge of homicide. It is alleged that Jones was in the victim’s backyard when he shot and killed his victim. The Tucson Police Department along with the U.S. Marshals Service led Arizona WANTED Violent Offender Task Force initiated a fugitive investigation. On Oct. 25, 2018, Jones was located at a residence on east 23rd Street in Tucson, Arizona and arrested.
Cesar Hernandez, armed robbery suspect, was arrested on Oct. 18 during Operation Triple Beam. He allegedly committed several armed robberies in the Tuscon area.
Reginal Stevenson, a homicide suspect, was arrested on Dec. 21 in Detroit during Operation Triple Beam. Stevenson allegedly shot and killed a victim during a drive-by shooting in Phoenix.
Suspect: Hernandez, Cesar
Charges: Armed Robbery (serial) Cesar Hernandez was arrested during Operation Triple Beam for multiple charges of Armed Robbery. It is alleged that Hernandez was committing serial armed robberies in the Tucson area. Due to the public safety threat posed by Hernandez, the Tucson Police Department along with the U.S. Marshals Service led Arizona WANTED Violent Offender Task Force initiated a fugitive investigation. On Oct. 18, 2018, Hernandez was located at a residence on east 32nd Street in Tucson, Arizona and arrested
Suspect: Stevenson, Reginal
Reginal Stevenson was arrested during Operation Triple Beam for the charge of homicide.
It is alleged that on August 24, 2018, Stevenson shot and killed his victim in a drive-by shooting at a restaurant in north-central Phoenix, Arizona. The Phoenix Police Department along with the U.S. Marshals Service led Arizona WANTED Violent Offender Task Force initiated a fugitive investigation. The investigation led to Detroit, Michigan and on Dec. 21, 2018, Stevenson was located by the U.S. Marshals Service Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team at a residence on Williamsberg Lane in Chesterfield, Michigan and arrested.