By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

MUSKOGEE COUNTY -- Six weeks ago, The News On 6 rode along when U.S. marshals and Muskogee police and deputies checked on every sex offender in Muskogee County to make sure they were living where they were supposed to.

Of those 216 offenders, 16 were not and Friday morning, they were arrested.

Once again, News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright was the only member of the media invited to ride along.

"We're here for the second phase of operation new year," said Lloyd Vellek, U.S. Marshals.

The briefing began at 5:30 a.m., as federal and local officers prepared to serve arrest warrants on 16 convicted sex offenders who are accused of violating the state's registration laws.

"Four of them, their original charge was rape, the others were assaults on children. They live among us, hang out at our parks, are around our children, that's the main reason we're here today," said Vellek.

They want to hold sex offenders accountable, so they break up into three teams to fan out across Muskogee County.

Police say the first target hasn't registered for a year.

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Each person on the list is considered a violent offender. Police say sex crimes are on the minds of every parent and it's important police know where these convicted criminals live.

As one team broke off for the jail, the others headed for a Muskogee motel. One suspect is required to register for his entire life, but they say he stopped.

It didn't take long to round up the people listed in the warrants and they were well on their way as the sun started coming up over the horizon.

Officers say one man was living too close to two different schools. Police say these warrants aren't for your average run of the mill sex offenders.

"Ten percent of your violent sex offenders out of compliance, out of registration, it's a serious problem," said Dan David, U.S. Marshals.

These officers feel they are making a difference for the most vulnerable of victims who can't fight for themselves.

Law enforcement agencies involved:

  • U.S. Marshals
  • Muskogee Police Department
  • Muskogee County Sheriff's Office
  • Cherokee County Sheriff's Office
  • Wagoner County Sheriff's Office
  • Muskogee County District Attorney's Office