June 17, 2008
Press Release from:
US Marshal’s Operation FALCON
“The targets for the 2008 operation are violent offenders, gang members and sex offenders. As in past operations, U.S. Marshal district offices will work with their Federal, State and local partners.” — U.S. Marshals Service Director John F. Clark
Over 1,200 Fugitives Arrested During Georgia Operation FALCON
Atlanta, GA – In the largest fugitive initiative ever undertaken by the United States Marshals Service’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force across the state of Georgia, the U.S. Marshals Service, teamed with law enforcement agencies throughout the region, arrested more than 1,250 fugitives and cleared more than 1,450 warrants during the six day state-wide sweep.

Led by the U.S. Marshals Service, Operation FALCON (Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally) targets persons wanted for sexual offenses, other violent crimes and narcotics violations. Operation FALCON took place in Georgia from June 9-14; this is the fourth consecutive year that the U.S. Marshals Service has conducted the FALCON fugitive sweep operation throughout the country.

Of the 1,250 fugitives arrested, 55 were wanted for sexual offenses. There were numerous arrests of targeted Georgia fugitives wanted for violent crimes. One of those was the arrest of Benjamin Rowe Jr. on June 11. Rowe was arrested by members of the SERFTF in Ellenwood, Ga. He was wanted by the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office for two counts of Armed Robbery, and two counts of False Imprisonment.

Rowe is alleged to have gone in chat rooms looking to meet gay partners. Rowe would chat with the potential victims and gain their trust, eventually convincing them to accept having a sexual encounter. Rowe would have the encounter with victims and leave, accepting to meet again. On the second encounter, Rowe would bring a yet to be identified accomplice, who would wait for Rowe inside his vehicle. Rowe would then find an excuse to go back to his vehicle, and when he returned to the victims home, Rowe and his accomplice would gain entry into the house and allegedly rob the victim at gun point.

On April 8, Rowe is alleged to have used the same technique when in the city of Conyers, Rowe and his accomplice robbed a couple he was to meet. Rowe and his accomplice duct taped the two victims and held them at gun point, taking $62,000 from the residence. The victims were later able to cut themselves free and call police.

This case was referred to the SERFTF as part of Operation Falcon. On June 11, SERFTF investigators traveled to Rowe’s residence in Ellenwood. After establishing surveillance at the address, investigators observed a male exiting the residence, who matched Rowe’s description, and leave in a vehicle. SERFTF investigators began a moving surveillance of the vehicle. Investigators contacted Dekalb County Police dispatch and requested the assistance of marked units to perform a vehicle stop. Units responded to the call, and a motor vehicle stop was made on Clifton Spring Rd., Ellenwood. Dekalb County Police and SERFTF investigators were able to make a positive ID of Rowe at the scene. Rowe was taken into custody without incident, and transported to the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office for processing.

Fugitives whose cases were adopted by Operation FALCON were sought by the Marshals Service, ATF, DEA, HUD-OIG, DHS-ICE, other federal, state, and local agencies, United States Attorneys, and courts at every level of government. Additionally, Operation FALCON task force members handled cases referred by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as well as those of foreign fugitives believed to be in this country. The Marshals Service also received support from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) at the Department of Justice. Interpol and the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service assisted in the investigations of persons wanted by law enforcement worldwide.

Operation FALCON – which encompassed a cooperative effort from the USMS Offices from the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Georgia, was comprised of over 115 law enforcement agencies and field offices with more than 400 officers and investigators participating.

Totals Captured by Judicial District:

    Category:                      Northern  Middle  Southern
    Total Arrests                      724      232       294
    Murderers Arrested                4           2          0
    Sex Offenders Arrested        33          16         6
    Total Operation FALCON Arrests:  1,250
    Total Operation FALCON Warrants Cleared:  1,470

“While the Marshals are often the public face of Operation FALCON, we have been extremely fortunate that all of our federal, state and local partners continue to wholeheartedly and enthusiastically come together to make this work,” said John F. Clark, Director of the U.S. Marshals Service. “With their exceptional assistance, Operation FALCON continues to be the largest and most successful fugitive apprehension effort in the U.S. Marshals history.”

Since its inception in 2005, Operation FALCON has made over 36,500 arrests and cleared over 45,300 warrants. It continues to be the largest and most successful fugitive apprehension effort in U.S. Marshals history.

The U.S. Marshal’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force (SERFTF) is a team comprised of law enforcement officers from the United States Marshals Service, as well as, 27 other local, state and federal agencies. The task force’s objective is to seek out and arrest the region’s most violent offenders. Since the inception of the task force in September of 2003, the SERFTF has closed over 13,000 felony warrants. Annually, U.S. Marshals locate and arrest more fugitives than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined.

For more information about the U.S. Marshals Service, visit http://www.usmarshals.gov