NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Marshals’ Missing Child Unit says 19 children were rescued and 20 others were located during a four-month operation in the New Orleans metro area.
Operation “This Is the Way Home” ran from March 1 to June 30 and focused on missing or endangered runaways in Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Tammany parishes. Nine adults were arrested on charges including felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile or contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
“While 19 recoveries may not seem high, this work, which is time-consuming, was accomplished while also running our normal day-to-day violent felony offender investigations across 13 parishes,” Scott Illing, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana, said.
In one recovery, a 16-year-old runaway who was wanted by the Clarksville Police Department in Tennessee was recovered in Slidell in May. That child, who was a runaway from Tennessee since Feb. 2020 was believed to be involved in gang and drug activity in St. Tammany Parish. The child was wanted on possession of a firearm, evading arrest, drug violations, theft, and violation of juvenile probation. The investigation also led to the arrest of 21-year-old Kolby Warren of Slidell on charges of drug possession with intent to distribute, illegal possession of stolen firearms, and illegal carrying of weapons.
During the investigation, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office seized $17,586, seven guns and drugs including codeine, oxycodone, marijuana, and others.
Also during the operation, a boy under one-month-old who was the subject of an Amber Alert in Arkansas was safely recovered in New Orleans.
“Our local, state and federal partners embrace the opportunity to conduct such meaningful operations for the community, in addition to their more traditional law enforcement activities to combat the rise in violent crime,” Illing said.
The operation is part of a pilot program by the U.S. Marshals Service designed to help coordinate different departments of the agency around the country. New Orleans has been operating as one of the cities the pilot program operates out of since it began in 2016.