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5 Missing children found in Oklahoma City gang sweep, yet calls for defunding police persist

 Image: 5 Missing children found in Oklahoma City gang sweep, yet calls for defunding police persist

 Last week, a sweep by the U.S. Marshals Service led to the recovery of five missing children and the arrest of 262 suspects.


The arrests came after a two-month anti-gang operation known as Operation Triple Beam OKC, which took aim at violent crime in the Oklahoma City area. Their goal was to make communities safer while getting violent fugitives and their weapons and narcotics off the streets.


Among the 262 arrested, 141 were confirmed to be gang members. Police recovered 72 firearms, $17,000 in cash and 9 kilograms of narcotics. Six of those arrested had been wanted for homicide, while there were 21 burglary suspects, 21 assault suspects, 57 drug offense suspects and 88 weapons offense suspects.


One of the individuals rounded up was Pablo Robledo, who had escaped from the Oklahoma County Detention Center. The Surenos gang member was up on murder charges. Another suspect, Dkwon Littlejohn, is a Rollin ’60s Crip gang member who is suspected of burglarizing a special agent for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations’ vehicle and stealing his duty rifle. Meanwhile, a pair of Dungee Crip gang members, Charles and Chasady Hall, are accused of kidnapping their children from an Oklahoma City daycare center while they were in the custody of the Department of Human Services.


Law enforcement saves children regularly, but people still want to defund police

The move comes not long after 39 endangered children were recovered in Georgia. At that time, the Chief of the U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit, Darby Kirby, commented that apprehending criminals is a “good feeling” but it pales in comparison to finding missing children.


“It’s hard to put into words what we feel when we rescue a missing child, but I can tell you that this operation has impacted every single one of us out here. We are working to protect them and get them the help they need.”

Known as Operation Not Forgotten, the two-week effort was carried out in the Atlanta and Macon areas. Twenty-six children were rescued in the operation and 13 were safely located. Nine criminal associates were arrested on charges such as registered sex offender violence, parental kidnapping, sex trafficking and custodial interference.


The Marshals reported that the children involved were among the most at-risk and difficult recovery cases in the area.


A similar mission led to the discovery of around two dozen children aged 13 to 18 in Ohio, some of whom had been neglected, abused and trafficked.


Since the U.S. Marshals first started working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2005, they have recovered more than 1,800 missing children. Last year, the Marshals recovered 295 missing children on requests for assistance from law enforcement agencies and contributed to recovering a missing child in 75 percent of the cases they received. Of those recovered, the recovery of 66 percent of them took place within seven days of the Marshals stepping in, according to a press release.


According to the FBI, a child goes missing in the United States every 40 seconds, with 765,000 children going missing per year. The Marshals have been doing some great work in recovering children and apprehending criminals, and their efforts should be applauded. Anyone who thinks that law enforcement agencies should be defunded needs to think very carefully about the help they provide to society’s most vulnerable people and ask themselves who they would turn to if their own child went missing and there weren’t any police to help.

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