Task Force Catches 800 Fugitives

Monday, September 13th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

When criminals are on the run, it's likely Tulsa's fugitive task force won't be far behind. The task force has removed 800 of Oklahoma's most wanted criminals off the streets in just the past year.

Tommy Freeman was wanted for first-degree murder. He was captured. Jarrod Billingsly was wanted on a fugitive warrant. He was captured. Mark Wingo escaped prison and was captured. Pablo Flores, accused drug runner, was also captured. Jim Hughes, the director of the U.S Marshals office said, "We've made arrests in Colorado, Florida and Georgia." The task force even arrested one fugitive in Guatemala. The team can go out of the state and the country because the government and local police are working together.

Gary Trout was wanted for firearms. He was captured. Steven Box violated his probation. He was apprehended. These are just a few of the hundreds of violent criminals now behind bars thanks to a team of six officers from Tulsa police department, Tulsa County sheriff's office and the U.S. Marshals office. "Always willing to stay out until they get the job done," said Hughes. "They even give up Saturday nights and Sundays. They really do a good job."

In its first year, the fugitive task force arrested 806 people, an average of more than two a day. The captured offenders are all wanted for either drugs, violent or sex crimes. The officers also served nearly 2000 warrants during the first year. "Sometimes it seems like we're a step behind them, but in the end, we catch them," said Hughes.

One of the task force's most recent captures was the man accused of robbing the police credit union. He was just ten minutes away from hopping a bus to Phoenix. Terry Mills was wanted for drugs and he was captured. Dana James was wanted for drugs and gang activity. He was also captured. But you won't hear the task force team bragging about their successes. They're too busy trying to find the next offender.

The task force doesn't cost taxpayers any extra money. Each department pays its own officers' salary while those officers are working full-time on the squad.