Twenty-nine arrested during ‘Operation Fall Cleaning’

PORT ANGELES — Twenty-nine people were arrested on outstanding arrest warrants and/or probable cause statements during Operation Fall Cleaning, reported Chief Brian Smith of the Port Angeles Police Department.

Operation Fall Cleaning, conducted last week, targeted warrants meeting the criteria of the U.S. Marshal’s Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force (PNVOTF) identified by law enforcement within Clallam County as contributors to drug trafficking, Smith said in a press release.

Drug trafficking constitutes a crisis in the county, he said.

“The objective was to reduce the number of outstanding warrants directly related to the increase of dangerous drug distribution and criminal activity, therefore impacting violent crime within the region,” Smith said.

The majority of arrests were for controlled drug substance offenses.

“The operation also identified warrant subjects of interest in the area of operation who have a history of gun and drug crimes,” Smith said.

The Clallam County Prosecutor’s Office provided the PNVOTF with a high-priority offender warrant list, Smith said.

Several of those apprehended had multiple arrest warrants; a total of 32 arrest warrants were cleared.

Additionally, new probable cause was developed for three people, one for eluding and two for felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Local participating agencies included the Port Angeles and Sequim police departments, the state Department of Corrections, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Border Patrol, the State Patrol, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, the National Park Service and OPNET detectives and agents.

The operation was coordinated and led by US Marshal’s Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force. Deputy U.S. Marshal’s and detectives from other agencies traveled to Clallam County and stayed for the duration of the operation.

The effort by necessity pulled together law enforcement officers form a variety of agencies, according to Deputy Chief Jason Viada.

Challenges such as staffing issues led to “gathering multiple agencies from different places to get this done despite the risks that are presented by COVID,” he said.

“Acting U.S. Marshal Richard Craig, Acting Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Donrien Stephens, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Craig McCluskey and Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Ryan Kimmel all expressed their appreciation to the participating agencies and personnel for their hard work,” Smith said in the release.

He quoted U.S. Marshal Richard Craig as saying, “Working together with various federal, state and local agencies is crucial to the success of our Fugitive Task Force. This joint operation with the Port Angeles Police Department is an example of the U.S. Marshals Service and our task force partner’s dedication to making the communities in Clallam County safer.”

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