EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Authorities say it could be the largest law enforcement operation in history. For the month of June, the U.S. Marshal's service joined forces with federal, state and local law enforcement in Operation Falcon. It's a program focusing on bringing in violent offenders, gang members, and sex offenders with felony warrants.
For many, it was an unwelcome wake up call. East Texas law enforcement hit the streets early, kicking off Operation Falcon.
"If you're involved in criminal activity, we're gonna come knockin' on your door," said U.S. Marshal, Gary Brown. "There's no place to run. There's no place to hide."
Members of local police departments, county and federal law enforcement teamed up, tracking down fugitives for crimes ranging from theft to aggravated assault and sexual assault of a child.
"While these people are on the street, they're a danger to the community," said Brown. "Every criminal that we take off the street makes your neighborhood and my neighborhood a safer place to live and a safer place to raise our children."
Tasks forces across the nation went into action. Making arrests and clearing thousands of warrants, the joint efforts of law enforcement paid off. Those arrested nationwide in this year's operation had a combined criminal history of more than 138,000 prior arrests.
"Before the existence of task forces like this, those folks normally would stay on the run for a while, and I think the more agencies, the more state and local partners we're able to get together and get on the East Texas task force, the stronger we become," said Brown.
Strength already shown in the numbers. East Texas teams made 150 arrests and provided valuable leads for other agencies. Just ask Tomas Alcoser, who fled Smith County for an alleged stabbing in 2005. Through Operation Falcon, East Texas authorities tipped off Dallas-Fort Worth police who tracked him down.
"It is really a true showing of something that the federal, state, and local agencies in Smith County are not territorial," said Brown. "We are able to work together for the betterment of our cases and the safety of our community."
It is safety created through the arrest of one criminal at a time. While Operation Falcon is just one month out of the year, authorities say up to six months of preparation go into filing warrants and locating fugitives. Since Falcon's first year in 2005, authorities have made more than 90,000 arrests.