Hawaii's top law enforcers talked yesterday about Operation Falcon, a week-long nationwide anti-crime effort that ended Monday, which involved federal, state and local cooperation.

‘Falcon’ snares 134
fugitives in Hawaii

The effort is part of the largest
national manhunt in history

Federal and state law enforcement officers arrested 134 Hawaii fugitives in seven days as part of what officials call the biggest roundup of wanted felons in the nation's history.


Total arrests: 134 (including one surrender)
Federal arrests: 10
State arrests: 124 (122 local warrants and one for a fugitive wanted in Utah; another fugitive had additional warrants from Florida but was picked up on Maui warrants)
Total warrants executed: 175 (Some fugitives had more than one warrant for their arrest.)
Types of warrants: Assault, burglary/larceny, financial fraud, negligent homicide, kidnapping, narcotics, robbery, sexual assault, stolen vehicles and weapons

The sweep for fugitives, known as Operation Falcon -- Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally -- occurred from April 4 through Monday and targeted career criminals and those with a history of violent crime.

Nationally a total of 10,340 fugitives were arrested, 134 of which were on Oahu and Maui.

"Nationally this was the largest fugitive manhunt in history," said U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo. "The object was to remove them from the streets because they pose the greatest threat to our communities."

One of the more notable arrests included 37-year-old David Baldaino, who was charged earlier this month with raping an 85-year-old woman who lived down the street from him along Waialae Avenue on March 12.

Originally from Kauai, Baldaino was an unregistered sex offender who had allegedly raped an elderly victim, making him a prime target who fit several of the criteria for making the task force's fugitive list.

"We believe this: Free fugitives are not idle, they are in our communities committing crimes," said U.S. Marshal Mark "Dutch" Hanohano. "Many are career criminals and crime is their occupation."

The task force focused on fugitives with histories of gang-related crimes, homicides, sexual assaults, kidnappings, unregistered sex offenders, and crimes against children and seniors.

Locally, Operation Falcon members included agents from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Hawaii Fugitive Task Force, the state Department of Public Safety Sheriff's Office and the Maui County Police Department.

Hanohano stressed that while the number of local fugitive arrests was the largest in the state's history, there were no injuries to arresting officers or the arrestees during the seven-day operation.

"This was an enormous challenge that produced the largest number of arrests ever recorded by a single operation," Hanohano said.

Of the 134 arrested, 73 were on Oahu and 61 on Maui, including two fugitives with out-of-state warrants, one from Florida and another from Utah. Federal and state agents also seized two ounces of crystal methamphetamine, a quarter-ounce of marijuana, 10 marijuana plants, a rifle and six rounds of ammunition, and $3,000 cash.

After yesterday's Operation Falcon news conference, Harvey Fuata, left, U.S. Marshal Mark Hanohano and Darryl Ng conferred.

Those officers going on the arrests said they took fugitives by surprise at first but that tracking them down became more difficult as the week went on.

"The first day, we were really successful, but then the word got out," said Lt. Wayne Ibarra, of the Maui Police Department. "They started hiding from us.

"We got most of them at home ... some of them at work. I think only one guy ran from us."

Nationally, 3,100 law enforcement agents were involved in Operation Falcon, from 25 federal agencies, 206 state agencies, 362 county sheriff's departments and 366 police departments. Hanohano said that in Hawaii, 30 task force members were dedicated to hunting down isle fugitives.

Hanohano said Hawaii received $10,000 from the federal government to help finance the task force operation -- not much, he said, but enough to make a difference.

"Nationally they committed $900,000 to this operation," he said. "If you look at the numbers, it breaks down to $87 per capture, which is pretty cost-effective."

Operation Falcon coincided with the beginning of the U.S. Department of Justice's "National Crime Victims' Rights Week."

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez announced the results of Operation Falcon yesterday and praised the efforts of the participating agencies, noting that targeting violent fugitives provides justice for the victims of those crimes and ensures safer communities.

"By taking violent fugitives off the streets and putting them behind bars where they belong," said Gonzalez, "we've honored the victims and made our streets safer."

When asked about why other Hawaii counties were not involved, U.S. Marshal Chief Deputy Mike Ferstl said they learned about the Justice Department's plans for a roundup with less than two weeks' notice and already had the infrastructure to do operations on Oahu and Maui.

Ferstl added that U.S. marshals had already performed a state-funded fugitive manhunt on the Big Island last year, resulting in about 150 arrests over several months in Hilo and Kona. As for Kauai, he said, the task force plans an operation there soon.

U.S. Department of Justice

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