Federal authorities have announced that "Operation Rodeo," a "high-impact fugitive apprehension initiative focusing on some of the most violent offenders throughout the southern counties of New Jersey," resulted in 65 people being taken off of the streets.

Of those 65, the U.S. Marshals Service says 33 are suspected to be gang members, largely Bloods members, but also Crips, Pagans, and from other lesser known gangs.

Those arrested were wanted for crimes such as homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery, carjacking, weapons violations, felony narcotics distribution, burglary, arson, failure to register as a sex offender, and other felonies.

Officials say among the 65 arrested were the following:

  • 28-year-old Alexion Mercado was wanted for attempted murder in Camden County since 2019. He was literally taken into custody on the beach in San Juan, PR, and was, "in possession of a Glock .40 caliber pistol and five extended magazines at the time of arrest."
  • 28-year-old Tyshone Carter was wanted for a September homicide in Philadelphia. He was located and arrested on in Cherry Hill, "hiding under a child’s bed."
  • A 16-year-old male was wanted in Camden County for aggravated assault; he was arrested and found to be in possession of a "ghost gun" when taken into custody.
  • 50-year-old Jason Johnson was wanted in Salem County on a 20-year-old warrant dating back to 2002 for illegal firearms possession. He was located and arrested in Monroe, LA.
  • 25-year-old Tajjir Buckhannon was wanted in Camden County for a shooting, which occurred in early September.
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U.S. Marshal Juan Mattos, Jr., said in a statement,

Once again Deputy U.S. Marshals from the District of New Jersey, the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, our state, county, local, and federal, partners combined efforts to locate and capture dangerous fugitives throughout the state of New Jersey all in an effort to maintain a safer community.

In addition to those arrested, authorities seized four guns, over $3,000 in cash, and various illegal drugs.

Vineland Police Chief Pedro Casiano commented,

Joint operations like this involving local, county, state, and federal agencies all focused on ridding our communities of persistent and violent offenders, not only reassures the law-abiding people of our communities that the police are working hard on their behalf, but sends a powerful message to those criminals in our midst, that we will find you and bring you to justice.

The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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