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For Immediate Release

Contact:
May 07, 2013 DUSM Joe Palmer, Northern District of California (415) 436-7651
U.S. Marshals Target Bay Area Sex Offenders in Nationwide Sweep

San Francisco, CA – Today 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 nationwide 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.

Five of the individuals identified during Operation Guardian were local to the bay area. These individuals were determined by authorities to be the bay areas “worst of the worst.” Among them were Robert Mitchell, 53, and Raymond Chavez, 64.

Through and extensive investigation, Mitchell was found to be working for a traveling carnival company at a state fair in Pocatello, Idaho. Mitchell was wanted by the San Francisco Police Department for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Mitchell was originally convicted of sexually assaulting a medically institutionalized person. Acting on a lead from the U.S. Marshals Service in Oakland, CA, U.S. Marshals Deputies located and apprehended Mitchell in Idaho.

Chavez was initially wanted by the California Department of Corrections for parole violations. Chavez was originally charged by the State of California with rape. Chavez had been sought on the parole warrant by US Marshals and arrested in Colorado. While in custody in Colorado, he managed to escape and was believed to have left the state. An active parole warrant was reinstated. US Marshals Deputies in Colorado, thinking that he may have fled to Texas, attempted to locate him but were unable to confirm his exact whereabouts. The case was sent to the National Sex Offender Targeting Center (NSOTC) for analysis. With the assistance of the NSOTC, investigators were able to find an address for Chavez’s wife in Dallas, TX. The updated information was sent to the US Marshals Sex Offender Investigations Coordinator in Dallas, and Chavez was found living with his wife and was taken into custody.

“Operation Guardian is an excellent example of how the resources of the U.S. Marshals Service along with its local, state, federal, tribal, and international law enforcement partners team up to make our communities safe from violent and dangerous sex offenders,” said Don O’Keefe the United States Marshal for the Northern District of California.

The U.S. Marshals Service 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 Marshals Service in cooperation with Interpol, the Diplomatic Security Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Behavioral Analysis Unit at the U.S. Marshals Service 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 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates more than 700,000 sex offenders reside in the U.S. and that more than 100,000 are classified as noncompliant or unregistered. Since its inception in 2006, the SOIB 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.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.

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