PIERCE COUNTY -- The U.S. Marshals-led Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force spent three days this week tracking down wanted sex offenders in Pierce County during, “Operation Evergreen.”
“Just the way I care about my daughter and my son, it's the same way the public cares about their kids and the community deserves to be able to enjoy life without fear of these predators lurking on our kids,” said Acting U.S. Marshal Jacob Green.
Among those arrested, Eugene Bates, who was wanted in Thurston County for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. He was convicted of Communication with a Minor for Immoral Purposes. The task force searched a home in Spanaway where he had been staying and developed a lead that he was on a job site in Tacoma. He was taken into custody without incident. "We were finding clues that he was either in Spokane or that he was somewhere in Tumwater, but this particular fugitive was actively trying to avoid arrest and actively trying to avoid registering,” said Deputy U.S. Marshal Beatrice Pharr.
During the operation, an additional two fugitives were arrested on unrelated charges and several sex offenders were found to have fled Washington and were located in other states. They will be investigated by the U.S. Marshals Sex Offender Investigations Branch for violations of the Adam Walsh Act.
There are 2,800 registered sex offenders in Pierce County, many say they are transient or they have warrants.
Targeted operations like this one help the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department keep track of them. “This is a problem for the whole community, because as we found out, we found somebody from Thurston County with the warrant that we didn`t even know was in Pierce County and that`s probably happening both ways. There`s probably missing Pierce County people throughout the country and the state,” said Pierce County Det. Ed Troyer.
Other noted arrests include Barney Romero and D’Andre Newchurch.
Romero, a Level 2 sex offender, was wanted after he stopped reporting to his Community Corrections Officer. He also had an additional warrant for his 5th Failure to Register as a Sex Offender charge in Pierce County. Deputies located him in an adjacent warehouse to a property in Yelm where he tried to hide under a pile of debris.
Newchurch was located at a home in Graham thanks to an anonymous tip.
Both were booked into the Pierce County jail.
"Non-compliant sex offenders who evade registration pose great risk to the communities where they hide. The public deserves to know if a convicted sex offender moves into their neighborhood and it is our priority to increase public safety by apprehending the most violent non-compliant sex offenders," said Acting U.S. Marshal Green.