U.S. Marshals-Led Operation Violence Reduction7 Captured 461 Fugitives, Gang Members, Sex Offenders and Violent Criminals Throughout Illinois; Kirk, Gillibrand Introduce Legislation that Makes Gun Trafficking a Federal Offense
CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)–July 17, 2015. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez today highlighted the recent arrests of 461 fugitives, gang members, sex offenders and violent criminals in Illinois by the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force’s (GLRFTF) Counter Gang Unit. This new task force was established by a Kirk-led appropriations initiative to utilize the expertise of the Marshals Service to remove the most violent fugitive gang members from the streets.
“Last week I attended the funeral of Amari Brown, a 7-year-old boy killed while celebrating the 4th of July with his family. We cannot have tragedies like this in the Chicagoland area,” said Senator Kirk. “By increasing federal support we can help local law enforcement, like the Chicago Police Department, reduce the number of families torn apart by gun violence.”
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Kirk secured $7.5 million in 2014 and $5 million in 2015 in new federal funds for U.S. Marshals to help fight gangs of national significance in Illinois and across the country. Of the funds appropriated for the U.S. Marshals, $1.7 million went to combat gang violence in Chicago. The committee recently approved Senator Kirk’s proposal of $5 million in continued funding for the initiative for fiscal year 2016.
Chicago is the headquarters to the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force that serves Illinois, Indiana and eastern Wisconsin. Since its creation in October of 2014, the Counter Gang Unit in Chicago has arrested 461 documented violent fugitive gang members, including Roberto Madrigal, a documented member of the Spanish Gangster Disciples street gang. Madrigal was wanted by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) for the February 8 murder of a 13-year-old. On February 11, Madrigal was arrested by members of the GLRFTF after he was positively identified as the shooter by several eyewitnesses. The GLRFTF have also seized $366,600 in currency and removed more than 40 illegal firearms from the streets over the past 9 months.
Senator Kirk, Superintendent McCarthy and State’s Attorney Alvarez also discussed new legislation to decrease the flow of illegal guns into Illinois and other ways to address the rise in gun violence in Chicago. So far this year there have been 1,423 shooting victims in the Chicago area.
Senator Kirk and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have authored the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act of 2015, which would make the trafficking of illegal guns a federal crime and would provide tools for law enforcement to help get illegal guns off our streets.
“Stemming the problem at the source involves holding violent offenders accountable for their actions and clamping down on those who sell and transfer guns to known criminals,” said Superintendent McCarthy. “This legislation will be a tremendous tool for our officers and will significantly help the Chicago Police Department make our city safer.”
“It is vitally important for all of us to realize that the devastating impact of gun violence is not only a crisis here in Chicago, it is a public safety and health crisis across our nation,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Alvarez. “I am proud to support legislation that will keep the pressure on gun traffickers and help prosecutors target those who make a profit putting weapons in the hands of dangerous people.”
Illegal firearms are routinely trafficked into Illinois. Over a recent five-year period, 301 guns in Chicago were traced to Clarksdale, Mississippi, including over 50 guns from the “Krossroads” pawnshop. Some of those guns ended up in the hands of the Gangster Disciples and other violent street gangs.