EXCLUSIVE: Fugitive roundup nabs violent offenders in Camden

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Thousands of violent offenders are off the streets tonight after a nationwide roundup. (WPVI)

Thousands of violent offenders are off the streets after they were captured by U.S. Marshals around the country, including New Jersey.

Some of the raids were being carried out in Camden where investigators say a sex offender and an escaped prisoner were among the fugitives who were caught.

The initiative was called Operation Violence Reduction, or VR7, targeting seven of the most violent cities across the country, including Camden.

Only Action News was there as U.S. Marshals raided a Camden home looking for Khaleem Jackson. The prison escapee was startled awake, and after some negotiation he was captured.

Up well before dawn, these U.S. Marshals plotted their moves. Safety is paramount.

Their first arrest last Wednesday morning was Carlos Garcia - a sex offender. He was found in a home with children hiding in a closet.

Action News sat down exclusively with the U.S. Marshal for New Jersey, Juan Mattos.

He tells us, "We are talking about going after the worst of the worst, the baddest of the bad, the most violent group that was causing havoc in these communities."

More than 7,100 fugitives, gang members, sex offenders and violent criminals were taken off the streets as a part of Operation Violence Reduction.

84 in Camden and more than 200 in New Jersey as a whole.

Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson says, "We do know that removing that very, very small percentage of people that are committing the majority of the violent crime, you can start to change the dynamics of neighborhoods."

Director of U.S. Marshals Stacia Hylton explains, "The approach for us then became, and our mantra - quality versus quantity."

These U.S. Marshals will tell you the roughly one month operation was a huge success. But it's really nothing new. They've been catching criminals for 225 years.

"They are the unsung heroes of law enforcement. Like the military slogan says, these folks do more by 9 a.m. than most do all day," Chief Thomson said.
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