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258 people arrested to slash violent crime in Kansas Capital

Operation Frontier Justice / Topeka, KS
Operation Frontier Justice / Topeka, KS(Shane T. McCoy/US Marshals | Shane T. McCoy/US Marshals)
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 12:06 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Ten days, 258 arrests in the Kansas Capital City of Topeka. Over the course of 10 days in March, the U.S. Marshals and Topeka Police worked with multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement partners. The more than week-long effort dubbed “Operation Frontier Justice” was an operation designed to reduce violent crime and drug activity in and around Topeka. Available data had shown an increase of about 38% in violent crimes over a 6-year period. During that same timeframe from 2014-2019, the number of shootings in Topeka increased by 142% to 259. Click here to view photos from Operation Frontier Justice.

“Over the past few years, violent crime has been on the rise in Topeka, especially homicides and shootings,” said Ron Miller, U.S. Marshall for the District of Kansas. “The U.S. Marshals Service joined forces with local and state agencies and other Department of Justice federal law enforcement agencies to try to combat this upward trend in violence, especially gan violence. We are proud to say that working together we sought to reduce ongoing violence and gang activity that we have seen throughout Topeka and Shawnee County.” (Story continues below.)

Operation Frontier Justice
Operation Frontier Justice(Shane T. McCoy/US Marshals | Shane T. McCoy/US Marshals)

Sixteen of those arrested were gang members. The operation netted 24 firearms, nearly 19 kilograms of narcotics including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin as well as $25,000 in U.S. currency.

Feuds between local neighborhood base gangs, or NBG, caused a sharp rise in shootings during the late months of last year. According to the U.S. Marshals Service, the 257 Crips NBG and the 5th Block NBG “were engaged in a long-running feud which had turned increasingly violent”. Local foster children were being targeted in an effort to recruit young prospective members. Law enforcement says members of the two gangs carried firearms for protection as they distributed drugs. Several shootings between the rivals resulted in injuries to bystanders.

Strategies from the U.S. Marshals’ counter gang model were used to conduct Operation Frontier Justice. According to a news release, “These strategies include the targeting and arrest of violent fugitives, gang members and criminal offenders who have committed violent crimes such as homicide, shooting into dwellings, felony assault and sexual assault, illegal possession of firearms, illegal drug distribution, and robbery.” The effort’s intent was to “disrupt the criminal operations of violent street gangs and criminal offenders”.

Agencies involved included: U.S. Marshals Service, Topeka Police Department, Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Department of Corrections, Shawnee County Department of Corrections, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas.

BY THE NUMBERS

138, state, local, and federal felony arrests

120 state and local misdemeanor arrests

16 gang members arrested

24 firearms seized

19.982 kilograms of narcotics seized

236 rounds of ammunition seized

$25,000 in U.S. currency seized

BREAKDOWN OF CHARGES: 1 sexual assault, 1 sexual offense, 2 failure to register, 13 assault, 13 burglary, 7 fraud, 1 homicide, 1 kidnapping, 46 narcotics, 4 robbery, 29 weapons, 20 others: 138 total charges.

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