Wednesday, January 7, 2009

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Attorney General Abbott: Fugitive Unit Expansion Into Houston, Fort Worth Leads to 368 Sex Offender Arrests

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today released first-year arrest totals for the recently-expanded Fugitive Unit’s Fort Worth and Houston offices. Combined, the two new regional offices accounted for more than 350 sex offender arrests.

In 2003, Attorney General Abbott created the Fugitive Unit to locate and arrest convicted sex offenders who either failed to register with local authorities or violated their parole conditions. Four years later, the Texas Legislature authorized additional funding that enabled the Attorney General to establish a regional presence in the Metroplex and greater-Houston areas.

“Officers with the Fugitive Unit’s Fort Worth and Houston offices have tracked down and arrested more than 350 previously convicted sex offenders,” said Attorney General Abbott. “These arrests reflect the benefits of our expanded regional presence and the cooperative relationships Fugitive Unit officers have forged with local law enforcement. The Texas Legislature’s investment in an expanded Fugitive Unit, coupled with a dedicated effort by Fugitive Unit officers, has truly made our neighborhoods safer for young Texans.”

Since the Fugitive Unit’s Houston office opened on Nov. 12, 2007, OAG officers arrested 181 offenders in that region. Of those, 66 were parole violators and 62 were failed to register with local law enforcement, while five unlawfully activated MySpace.com accounts.

Since the Fort Worth regional office’s June 2, 2008 opening, the Fugitive Unit has arrested 187 offenders in the region. That includes 86 arrests for parole violations and 68 arrests for failure to register as a sex offender. Among those arrested by the Fort Worth Fugitive Unit was a suspect who appeared on the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List.

The Fugitive Unit has arrested 1,031 sex offenders since its 2003 creation. Of those, 541 violated parole conditions, while 300 failed to comply with sex offender registration requirements. Fugitive Unit officers also led efforts to apprehend violent Louisiana fugitives who fled to Texas during Hurricane Katrina and Texas parolees who fled during the Hurricane Rita evacuation. Additional Fugitive Unit arrests involved sex offenders and other violent criminals who were apprehended during Operation Falcon II, a nationwide roundup of convicted felons-turned-fugitives.

To find out more about Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to crack down on sex offenders, visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.