A recent four-day effort to locate Kansas parole absconders has resulted in the arrest of 21 people who had broken contact with state officials, the state attorney general said Wednesday.
Attorney General Steve Six said the joint effort by his office, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Department of Corrections resulted in 42 arrests, including parolees with violations or other pending warrants.
The effort was conducted in Topeka, Wichita and Kansas City. Local and federal law enforcement assisted with the effort, dubbed "Operation Cooperation."
"By combining our resources, state agencies are sending a message to criminals who falsely believe they can violate the conditions of their parole without consequence," Six said.
Six said those arrested had criminal backgrounds that ran a spectrum of crimes, but nobody was sought for open violent crime investigations.
One of those arrested in Topeka could face additional federal charges.
Juan Lucio was arrested Aug. 10 and was found carrying a 9mm handgun, authorities said. Lucio has previous convictions for drugs and a history of being a parole absconder according to Department of Corrections records. Kansas officials have sent Lucio's case to the U.S. Attorney's office for review and possible prosecution.
In Wichita, Michael Schell was arrested on Aug. 11 when he was spotted outside his home. Schell tried to flee and was found hiding in a crawl space, Six said. Schell will be charged in district court with felony obstruction, he said.
Corrections officials said there are as many as 185 parolees who weren't meeting conditions of their parole, including keeping required contact with parole officers.
John Lamb, the Department of Corrections' director of apprehension and investigations, said the agency normally finds an average of two or three absconders a day. But recent state budget cuts have made it difficult to adequately pursue individuals, noting that one position is being left open and vehicles are getting high mileage.
"The wheels are starting to creak," Lamb said.
He said the agency is getting better at finding parolees through better intelligence gathering and cooperation with law enforcement agencies around Kansas.