Multiple law enforcement departments gather in Mercer County for a briefing on the CUFFED task force

PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – Multiple law enforcement departments gathered this afternoon in Princeton for an update from the CUFFED task force.

US Marshalls, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department and Princeton PD, among others, have been partnering on Operation Triple Beam. Operation Triple Beam is a national initiative to target and arrest violent felony fugitives, and those with gang and organized crime ties. Results over the past few months have included 98 arrests.

“We started looking and talking to our partners again,” said United States Marshall Michael Baylous. “[We] realized we had an opportunity to come to the Mercer County/Raleigh County area and really make an impact down here with some crime activity that had been noticed by our partners.”

Mercer County departments got involved with US Marshalls in November of 2019, and saw immediate results within one month, including obtaining a man up in Michigan who was wanted in southern West Virginia.

“Being partners with the US Marshall Fugitive Task Force, you have a little bit more assets and a little bit more benefits as far as trying to help locate these individuals,” said Mercer County Sheriff’s Department Detective Matthew Horn. “So with their help and their expertise in finding people, we was able to develop where the individual was staying at, and was able to get a team that was up in Detroit, Michigan to actually take the guy into custody.”

A second effort recently concluded, Operation Autumn Hope. Autumn Hope started in Southern Ohio, but Mercer County officials quickly got involved, achieving great success.

“As a result of our involvement in Operation Autumn Hope, we recovered 13 children in Southern West Virginia,” Baylous said. “Out of that 13, five were located in the Mercer County area.”

With enforcement officials located in several spots throughout the area, the CUFFED task force should only grow in terms of the impact we see throughout Southern West Virginia.