Eleven missing or endangered children were recovered by the U.S. Marshals Service during a two-month operation in New Orleans, according to the agency.
Operation Summer Rescue, which ran from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30, involved several other agencies, including the Nashville, Tennessee, police and the FBI office in New Orleans. It worked to recover suspected runaway children.
Authorities told local media outlets that a 16-year-old runaway teen was rescued and was suspected to be involved in illegal gang activity involving firearms in New Orleans, according to WSDU-TV. In another instance, a 13-year-old girl was also rescued in Nashville, officials said.
The U.S. Marshals added that they were able to arrest several individuals while recovering the children, including an adult male who was charged with aggravated statutory rape.
A mother wanted on a first-degree murder warrant in Mississippi was also arrested during the sting, officials told FOX8. She was arrested for allegedly killing her son, 11, at a hotel in the state, and her two sons, aged 6 and 9, were found in New Orleans, authorities said.
“This is a very important mission that the USMS has been tasked by Congress to oversee, as the safety of children across the country is paramount to this nation’s future,” said U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana Scott Illing, according to the station. “While 11 recoveries may not seem high, this work, which is time-consuming, was accomplished while also running our normal day-to-day violent felony offender investigations and s** offender fugitive operations in the district, along with our other judicial missions.”
The sting around New Orleans comes after U.S. Marshals conducted several other operations around the United States, including in northeastern Ohio, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Georgia, and elsewhere over the past month or so. In those operations, more than 100 children deemed endangered or missing were recovered.
In Ohio, officials said on Sept. 21 that 35 children were found.
“Of the 40 missing cases referred to the Marshals Task Force only five cases remain open. Members of the task force and its local partners will continue to work over the next several weeks to bring these five remaining children and other children to safety,” the Marshals Service stated.
Any information about missing or endangered children should be reported to local police offices or to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-The-Lost. Information about violent fugitives can be provided to the U.S. Marshals Service at (504) 589-6872, via email at [email protected], or with the USMS tips app. Crimestoppers GNO may also be contacted with tips at (504) 822-1111.