CENTRAL WASHINGTON — Several agencies in Yakima and Benton counties, as well as state and federal law enforcement have joined forces to apprehend violent criminals with warrants.

Dubbed “Operation Invictus,” law enforcement officers, including deputies with the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office are taking part in the 12-week operation, which is part of combined effort to remove the offenders from Central Washington communities.

“The U.S. Marshal’s has invited members of law enforcement in Yakima County to participate,” Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Casey Schilperoort said.

Also involved is the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, FBI, ATF, DEA, Yakima and Union Gap Police, as well as Kennewick Police and Yakama Nation Department of Public Safety.

Immigration enforcement isn’t part of the operation which involves “… tracking down and investigating dangerous fugitives,” Schilperoort said.

“Many of the fugitives have a lengthy history and will be wanted for serious crimes,” he noted.

Although Sunnyside Police are not a part of the joint effort, Cmdr. Scott Bailey said his department will provide assistance and analytical support as needed.

“We’ll provide temporary housing for those arrested, as well,” he said.

It was reported 13 arrests, seven of them gang-related, were made in the first week of the operation.

Operation Invictus is an element of Project Safe Neighborhoods and the Violent Crime Reduction Initiative.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of a fugitive, can leave anonymous tips with Yakima County Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-248-9980 or on the website at crimestoppersyakco.org.

Jennie McGhan can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 114 or email JMcGhan@sunnysidesun.com

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