Gov. Larry Hogan and U.S. Marshal for Maryland Johnny Hughes announced Wednesday the arrests of 264 people as part of a three-week crackdown on violent fugitives in Baltimore.
Hogan also took the moment to demand lawmakers in Annapolis pass his bills to toughen minimum sentences for violent offenders and to track judges’ sentencing decisions. Less than two weeks remain before the General Assembly session ends.
“Incomprehensibly, lawmakers seem unable to take any action that will make a difference,” Hogan said. “These initiatives are all about going after the violent crime crisis with everything we’ve got.”
The governor was in federal court in Baltimore for the announcement of results from Operation Seven Sentinels, a push to capture the city’s most dangerous fugitives. More than two dozen law enforcement agencies from city police to the FBI joined in.
They arrested 25 people wanted for homicide or attempted homicide, 74 people wanted for assault and 27 people wanted for drug crimes. Authorities say they recovered 140 grams of heroin, 106 grams of cocaine and $50,000 in cash in the three weeks.
“We should all feel a little safer now that they’re off the streets,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison told the crowd.
The marshal, Hughes, noted those arrested include Jeremiah Amos, 26, who is charged with beating a child to death in January. He’s scheduled for a preliminary court hearing next month.
The Seven Sentinels operation mirrored a month-long push last year that nabbed 259 fugitives in Baltimore. Authorities called the previous effort “Operation Seven Sentries.”
The city’s violent crime has decreased 8 percent so far this year compared with the same period last year.
Still, homicides have increased 21 percent to 58 killings so far in 2019. Shootings increased 33 percent to 113. The city has suffered from more than 300 homicides annually for the last four years.
Hogan told the crowd these latest arrests should not be overlooked.
“It’s not a magic wand and it’s not going to make all the crime disappear,” the governor said, “but that’s a major accomplishment.”
Gun violence will continued to grip Baltimore unless lawmakers act in Annapolis, Hogan said. His one bill would require the state to publish reports on the prison terms handed down by individual judges. The other would increase the minimum sentence to 10 years for repeat offenders who use a gun.
“If you can’t keep these most violent offenders off the streets,” he said, “it’s like digging in the sand ... it all keeps filling back in.”