Spokane – William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that a fifteen-week-long joint federal, state, local and Tribal law enforcement initiative has resulted in 246 arrests of fugitives and violent offenders in Yakima County. Fifty-four percent of the arrests were gang-related. The arrests involved a variety of criminal charges, including homicide, assault, sexual assault, extortion, kidnapping, robbery, weapons offenses, burglary, failure to register as a sex offender and narcotics violations.
Operation “Invictus Civitas” (Undefeatable Community) has been a coordinated Project Safe Neighborhoods violence reduction initiative led by the U.S. Marshal Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington. Federal, state, local and Tribal law enforcement partners reduce violent crime within Yakima, Yakima County and the Yakama Reservation by identifying and arresting violent fugitives and criminal offenders, and by targeting violent gang activity. The operation collected and utilized intelligence information leading to the systematic removal of individuals charged with committing violent crimes.
Operation “Invictus Civitas” launched on June 3, 2019. As part of this coordinated and targeted initiative, the arrests included: 9 for sexual offenses; 62 for assaults; 19 for robberies; 29 for weapons violations; 5 for homicides; 1 for kidnapping; 1 for arson; 15 for burglaries; 63 for narcotics violations; and 40 for other crimes.
In addition, Operation “Invictus Civitas” resulted in the seizure of 33 firearms, nearly 4.5 pounds of controlled substances, over $37,000 in U.S. currency, a ballistic vest, and 12 vehicles that were either stolen and recovered or seized as a result of criminal activity.
“The revitalized Project Safe Neighborhoods program is a major success,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “It packs a powerful punch by combining advanced data with local leadership, further reducing violence in communities across the country and improving overall public safety. U.S. Attorneys continue to focus their enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals and work in partnership with federal, state, local, and Tribal police. The Justice Department’s relationships across the board have never been stronger.”
United States Attorney Hyslop said, “No violent crime is acceptable in the Eastern District of Washington. Operation ‘Invictus Civitas’ has been hugely successful. And it highlights the joint commitment, dedication, and partnership between our state, local, Tribal and federal partners in combatting violent crime and removing violent criminals and gang members from the community to face justice. I commend the outstanding work and tireless efforts of all our law enforcement partners. In addition, Maike & Associates provided tremendous data analysis and support as the Project Safe Neighborhoods research partner.”
U. S. Marshal Craig Thayer, Eastern District of Washington, commented that, “The 246 violent offenders safely arrested during Operation ‘Invictus Civitas’ are testament to the dedication and professionalism of the participating law enforcement agencies. Our communities are safer because of this success. We recognize that there are still those who are committing illegal acts against the community, and we want them to know that we are committed to protecting the community from violent crime going forward.”
Operation “Invictus Civitas” is a joint United States Marshal Service, Operation Triple Beam, Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) and Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force initiative geared toward reducing violent crime in the Yakima region. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a national initiative that brings together federal, state, local and Tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and community leaders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. Yakima County, and specifically the City of Yakima, was selected as a PSN area of focus in 2018 due to its high rates of gang and gun-related violent crime. The U.S. Marshal Service designed Operation “Invictus Civitas” to initiate a community-based, comprehensive, multi-component strategy being implemented over a two-year period.
The Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force (PNVOTF) is a U.S. Marshal Service sponsored partnership composed of federal, state and local law enforcement officers from Washington, Oregon and Alaska. The primary mission of the PNVOTF is to locate, arrest, and return to the justice system the most violent, most egregious federal and state fugitives. Operation “Invictus Civitas” partners include the United States Marshal Service, United States Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Department of Corrections, Yakima Police Department, Union Gap Police Department, Yakama Nation Department of Public Safety, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Kennewick Police Department, LEAD Task Force, Yakima County Prosecutors Office and Maike & Associates.