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Sirens & Gavels

Mon., June 27, 2011, 10:57 a.m.

Federally led force arrests 174 fugitives

Two Spokane women wanted on federal counterfeit money charges, an Oregon resident sought on a strangulation warrant and a New Mexico fugitive working at a mixed martial arts center in Kettle Falls: Those are among the 174 suspects throughout Eastern Washington arrested this week in a sweep conducted by the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force.

The task force, which started last year and includes Washington, Alaska and Oregon, works with law enforcement to help track fugitives wanted on felony warrants.

Local agencies can submit names of fugitives they need off the streets and contribute an officer to assist in the investigation, said U.S. Marshal Bob Doty, task force supervisor.

“The problem is a lot of them don’t think of us until weeks after they have a fugitive,” Doty said.

The task force organized six teams for the three-day sweep to help raise awareness about the federally funded fugitive-apprehension service.

Of the 174 suspects arrested, 18 were in Spokane County, including Brittney R. Hearn, 24, and Robin Knuttgen, 51, who were indicted by a grand jury on counterfeit money charges.

Other arrests occurred in the Tri-Cities and Yakima regions, and in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, among other places.

The majority of the arrests were on county warrants, Doty said.

Charges included escape, bail jumping, theft, drugs, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.




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