MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - More than 173 have been arrested as a part of a three-month operation to reduce violent crime led by the United States Marshal Service.
Operation Triple Beam-Project Violent Crime Reduction is an initiative developed to target and arrest violent fugitives and criminal offenders who commit high-profile crimes such as homicide, felony assault and sexual assault, illegal possession of firearms, illegal drug distribution, robbery, and arson.
During the operation, 173 felony arrests were made and 76 firearms were seized. Of those arrests, officials say, seven were for homicide, 20 were for robbery, over 70 for illegal narcotics possession/distribution and eight for sex offenses.
Officials say of the 76 firearms that were seized, 41 cases were referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office for federal indictment.
Two of the more significant arrests were made in Montgomery. Officials say Joseph Epps, 32, and Xavier Thomas, 38, are both facing charges as a result of this operation.
Epps was taken into custody on March 8 for terroristic threats. Epps is accused of calling his employer and threatening to kill multiple employees. While executing a search warrant on Epps' residence officials found nine rifles, three pistols and various amounts of ammunition.
Thomas was taken into custody for unlawful distribution in Montgomery. While executing a search warrant at his residence, officials seized 700 grams of marijuana, 86 grams of crack cocaine, 87 ecstasy pills, one assault rifle and one pistol.
The operation was led by the U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Fugitive Task Force, the Montgomery Police Department along with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Alabama Attorney General's Office.
Operation Triple Beam has been a huge accomplishment for the United States Marshals Service, Montgomery Police Department, and our partner agencies," said Jesse Seroyer, U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Alabama. "Together as a team, we commit ourselves to taking the worst of the worst off the streets in our communities. Obviously, with the amount of firearms seized, we were identifying the rights individuals."
The strategy used in this operation has been applied in 45 other cities across the country, including Montgomery, since 2010.