BALTIMORE, MD – A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice detailed the success of an operation led by the U.S. Marshals that saw the recovery of collectively 131 missing children through various investigations launched and collaborations with local law enforcement agencies in Maryland.
Dozens of Maryland children recovered in ‘Operation Not Forgotten’ https://t.co/bPjvdNYNdk
— WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore (@wbaltv11) April 9, 2021
The effort that saw the numerous missing children’s cases resolved closed was dubbed as “Operation Not Forgotten,” which was reportedly a collaborative effort initially launched by the U.S. Marshals in Maryland.
This 60 day operation was said to have resulted in the recovery of 18 previously missing children and also the self-return of 11 other children. However, U.S. Marshals with the assistance of local law enforcement agencies were able to locate an additional 102 children that had previously been reported missing.
The effort was reportedly led by U.S. Marshals personnel from the capital area regional fugitive task force and the district of Maryland, with some additional support coming from two U.S. Marshals district offices based in Washington.
Additional law enforcement agencies that assisted with the expansion of this operation included the Maryland State Police, Montgomery County Police Department, Prince Georges County Police Department, Baltimore County Police Department and the Baltimore Police Department.
Overall, according to the agency’s press release, there were over 30 investigators that collaborated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Maryland Department of Human Services – Child Protective Services to help locate these missing children.
The U.S. Marshals in the District of Maryland announce the results of “Operation Not Forgotten,” a 60-day operation to locate and recover critically missing children throughout Maryland. pic.twitter.com/IFK4MZPiA5
— U.S. Marshals (@USMarshalsHQ) April 9, 2021
Said effort to help locate missing children is not the first iteration of Operation Not Forgotten, as a similar endeavor occurred back in August of 2020 in Georgia where 39 children were collectively recovered.
U.S. Marshal Johnny L. Hughes of the District of Maryland provided the following statement regarding the operation’s success:
“Children are a Blessing and are America’s future leaders. We must always protect their innocence and defend them from physical and sexual abuse by predators and unscrupulous individuals.”
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner extended sincere accolades toward the efforts employed by the U.S. Marshals and the law enforcement agencies that collaborated with them in this endeavor:
“We commend the U.S. Marshals Service and their law enforcement partners for their leadership and tireless work in finding children and bringing them home.
“Everyone in the community must prioritize child safety and preventing victimization, including through mentoring and other supportive programs to help at-risk children and their families.
“Our office will always aggressively pursue and prosecute those who prey on young people, and we are pleased to support efforts like this operation.”
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Back in March, Law Enforcement Today shared a report regarding another operation that saw several children recovered in Texas.
Here’s that previous report.
DALLAS-FORT WORTH, TX – Following a month-long operation focused on recovering missing and/or exploited children in North Texas, the Department of Justice announced that 31 children were safely recovered as a result of the efforts on March 17th.
At least seven of the 31 children were girls rescued from sex trafficking. One was just 13 years old. Two others were 15, three were 16, and one was 17. At least two were found with ties to prostitution.https://t.co/mqewJuGo66
— WJHL (@WJHL11) March 14, 2021
The effort was dubbed as “Operation Missing in the Metroplex”, according to the DOJ, and consisted of federal agencies partnering with law enforcement agencies in Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth and Grand Prairie to locate missing and exploited children.
Both the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals were said to have led the operation while it was ongoing.
Acting U.S. Marshal Quintella Downs-Bradshaw delivered the following comments with regard to the operation’s success:
“To observe law enforcement partnerships and community concerns culminate into such a successful recovery outcome is rewarding. Victims should know they are not forgotten, there is hope and a way to return home.”
A total of 31 children were recovered during the effort, having been reunited with friends, relatives or with legal guardians. At least seven of the children were said to have been girls aged between 13 and 17 that were rescued from sex trafficking scenarios.
According to the DOJ, the agency records over 420,000 reports of missing children every year.
Dallas Police Department Chief of Police Eddie Garcia delivered comments on the operation as well, saying the following:
“We are grateful to be a part of a coalition of extraordinary law enforcement agencies who were dedicated in reuniting these children with their loved ones. It is our hope that each of them will be able to put this traumatic experience behind them and move forward to have a happy and productive life.”
Arlington Chief of Police Al Jones also delivered comments on the operation, noting that the victims recovered are representative of the state’s “most vulnerable” population:
“These kids and teens represent some of our most vulnerable populations where adults try to prey on their innocence. We will not rest until every child is located safe and someone is held accountable.”
Fort Worth Police Department Chief Neil Noakes mirrored the sentiments shared by Chief Jones, saying:
“We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partnerships in locating missing children and reuniting them with their families. Human trafficking is a serious issue and we will not rest until our most vulnerable population are safe.”
While the DOJ announced the recovery of said children, the agency didn’t relay whether there were any arrests linked to the operation as of this writing.
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Author: Gregory Hoyt