BOSTON — Some 146 people, including dozens of fugitives and alleged gang members wanted for violent crimes, have been arrested in and around Lawrence during the past five months during an operation dubbed "Operation Triple Beam," the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston announced Friday. 

Operation Triple Beam was led by the U.S. Marshals Massachusetts Fugitive Task Force which included the Lawrence Police Department and Massachusetts State Police and focused on violent offenders and gang members wanted for narcotics trafficking and other violent crimes, according to the statement. 

"Since the operation began on Jan. 1, 2019, 146 individuals who were wanted for various outstanding criminal offenses, including murder, narcotics trafficking, rape — including rape and sexual assault of children — kidnapping, and armed home invasions, have been arrested," according to the statement. 

“Operation Triple Beam is a nationwide initiative in which federal resources are deployed to help state and local law enforcement round up dangerous fugitives living in our most vulnerable communities,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling in Boston. 

“Removing these fugitives, including alleged rapists, murderers, and drug traffickers, will make Lawrence and neighboring towns safer. Law-abiding residents of Lawrence should be able to live and work without fear. My thanks go to the U.S. Marshals Service, the Lawrence Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police, for executing this highly successful operation. This kind of coordinated enforcement effort not only reduces criminal activity, but is a reminder that increased enforcement is here to stay, at least until drug trafficking and other crime drops significantly in Lawrence and surrounding regions," said Lelling in the statement. 

The men and women arrested during this operation have been charged in both state and federal courts. The statement did not include the names of the 156 individuals arrested. 

The operation in Lawrence resulted in the seizure of eight pistols; one semi-automatic rifle; one 12-gauge shotgun and more than two kilos of drugs, including cocaine, crack cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and marijuana.

Lawrence police Chief Roy Vasque thanked both the U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. attorney for their continued commitment in the city.  

“This latest extremely successful operation is yet another example of our strong partnership and our commitment to working together to make Lawrence safer. Let this be a strong message to all that criminals will not take refuge here,” Vasque said. 

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera also extended his praise to the U.S. attorney's office for helping the residents of Lawrence. 

“This joint effort between the U.S. Marshals Massachusetts Fugitive Task Force, the Lawrence Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police is the type of operations that takes dangerous people and illegal and dangerous weapons off our city’s streets. We thank all involved for making Lawrence safer," Rivera said. 

John Gibbons, U.S. marshal for the District of Massachusetts, said Operation Triple Beam "was a targeted enforcement initiative by the U.S. Marshals Service to address violent crime, including guns, narcotics and gang violence in an effort to address violent crime in and around the City of Lawrence.”

Gibbons said Friday's announcement is "the culmination of months of hard work and dedication to root out dangerous violent criminals and fugitives, bringing them to justice."

"We believe that these arrests will have a positive impact on the local community making the streets safer and improving the quality of life for the residents. We want to thank our partners in the Lawrence Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police for their cooperation and invaluable assistance,” he said.

Massachusetts State Police Col. Kerry Gilpin noted the state police has a Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section that on a daily basis is "an extremely active unit" that tracks and arrests subjects of criminal warrants "to bring them to justice for their past violent crimes and to get them off Massachusetts streets before they can hurt another victim."

“Our unit frequently works with U.S. marshals and local police in concerted efforts to locate and arrest dangerous criminals, and was happy to do so again as part of the highly successful Operation Triple Beam," she said. 

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill. 

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