Federal authorities teaming with police in the Richmond and Tri-Cities region arrested 90 people on 280 charges during a weeklong enforcement operation that targeted gang members, violent offenders and fugitives, the U.S. Marshals Service announced Thursday.

“The goal was to take off the streets any gang member or suspected gang member that was wanted for anything,” said Kevin Connolly, a supervisory inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service and leader of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.

The effort, dubbed Operation Washout and led by the Marshals, was designed to “go after these gangs that are causing problems” in the Richmond and Tri-Cities area, Connolly said.

About 80 officers in five teams fanned out across the region May 20-24 and arrested wanted criminals, about half of whom were members or suspected members of such gangs as the Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, Pagans, Hells Angels, Aryan Brotherhood, Ward Boyz, Willow Boyz, Stain Gang, Chippenham Money Makers, Juggalos and 5th Ward Gang, Connolly said.

Those arrested with drug and/or gun evidence were debriefed about what they may know about gang, drug or gun activity and murders in the region. “Every single person was asked those questions and several of them came forward,” Connolly said. “We were able to get some valuable intelligence on some of these high-profile crimes in the region.”

Of the 90 arrested, 22 were documented gang members and six were wanted on murder-related charges. The murder suspects included two brothers wanted in a double killing in Hopewell, and two men being sought in the robbery and slaying of a Richmond man in his Fan District home.

The operation also resulted in the seizure of 54 grams of heroin as well as cocaine, Oxycontin pills and marijuana. Police also recovered six firearms that included two 9 mm pistols, one .380-caliber pistol, a .22-caliber pistol, a .410 sawed-off shotgun and a 7.62-caliber pistol, which authorities described as an AK-47-type firearm.

“What the Richmond Police Department and other jurisdictions liked about this, is in the communities everyone saw those law enforcement officers working together and removing these folks,” Connolly said. “And I think we even gained a few [unanticipated] surrender arrests as a result of this, because they thought that we were coming after them.”

The U.S. Marshals have a national program that targets gang fugitives in certain cities across the nation, and authorities took a look at Richmond and surrounding localities to see if it could be beneficial here, Connolly said.

In December, the Marshals met with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Richmond as well as local police agencies and all agreed to proceed with the initiative to go after more than 100 people wanted in the area, mostly for drugs, violent crimes and sex offenses, Connolly said. The Marshals then deputized state and local law enforcement officers after providing them tactical training.

Nick Proffitt, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement that the operation “is a testament to the level of cooperation between the individuals and the leadership from each of the participating agencies.”

In addition to the Marshals Service, agencies included the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Virginia State Police; Virginia Department of Corrections; Richmond police; Chesterfield County police; Chesterfield Sheriff’s Office; Henrico County police, Hanover County Sheriff’s Office; Petersburg police; Hopewell police, Colonial Heights police; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia; and the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

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