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Nationwide sweep by U.S. marshals puts 345 dangerous sex offenders behind bars

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USMS NEWS RELEASE

USMS bannerWASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) concluded Operation Guardian, a three-year, national initiative specifically targeting the country’s most dangerous noncompliant sex offenders. Deputy marshals and law enforcement partners arrested 345 individuals who had failed to register with state authorities as required by law.

Marshals worked with state and local officials to identify specific non-registering fugitives based on their danger to the public and prior convictions for sex offenses. As of today, USMS investigators have located 427 offenders of 444 sought (or 96 percent of those targeted), including 82 individuals found outside the United States. These individuals represent more than 500 prior convictions for sexual offenses.

“I’d like to thank each of the Deputy U.S. Marshals and state and local law enforcement officials who contributed to the success of this important operation. These dedicated professionals have helped to make our communities safer by taking dangerous fugitives off the streets,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Today’s announcement sends a clear message: that the Justice Department and its allies are firmly committed to safeguarding our nation’s young people from all forms of exploitation and abuse. And we are determined to bring noncompliant sex offenders to justice.”

“The U.S. Marshals Service will not tolerate noncompliant and violent sex offenders who evade the law. The message we send to these individuals is there is nowhere you can hide,” said USMS Director Stacia Hylton. “Operation Guardian enabled us to bring to bear the full weight of international, federal, state and local law enforcement resources and intelligence to locate the most egregious sex offenders—those who have victimized innocent children.”

The USMS assigns 129 criminal investigators to conduct sex offender, non-registrant investigations on a full-time basis. Operation Guardian was a collaborative effort led by the USMS in cooperation with Interpol, the Diplomatic Security Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is proud to partner with the U.S. Marshals in helping to protect our nation’s children,” said John Ryan, chief executive officer, NCMEC. “We applaud the overwhelming success of Operation Guardian which located hundreds of the country’s most dangerous noncompliant sex offenders.”

Among those arrested during Operation Guardian was David Sherant, arrested Oct. 3, 2012, by Deputy U.S. Marshals from the District of Nevada and members of the Las Vegas SOAP Task Force. Sherant was wanted by the Utah Department of Corrections for violating his term of supervision by failing to register as a sex offender. He was convicted in August 2000 of sexual exploitation of a minor.

After release from the Utah State Prison, Sherant absconded parole, and failed to register as a sex offender as required by law. Investigators learned that the 31-year-old Sherant was passing himself off as 18-year-old “Mikey Miller” currently residing in Las Vegas. On Oct. 15, 2012, Sherant was extradited to Utah. His probation was revoked and he was remanded to the custody of the Utah Department of Corrections.

The Behavioral Analysis Unit at the USMS National Sex Offender Targeting Center worked with the investigators to identify information related to the fugitives across a number of personal or social dimensions, including past sexual offending behavior. The prior convictions of the located offenders represent hundreds of victims and thousands of known sexual assaults. Most of the sexual assault events were engaged against children, and many involved extreme violence.

The NCMEC estimates more than 700,000 sex offenders reside in the United States and that more than 100,000 are classified as noncompliant or unregistered. Since its inception in 2006, the Sex Offender Investigations Branch has planned and executed more than 900 sex offender compliance and enforcement operations. During these operations, the USMS partnered with more than 4,800 state and local law enforcement agencies to conduct more than 150,000 compliance checks.

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