TAMPA — Week after week as the summer rolled on, authorities picked away at a list of the state's most notorious fugitives until they locked up nearly 2,500 of them — including almost 200 in Tampa Bay.
Some, like Tyree Jenkins, 22, of Dade City appeared in widely publicized news reports. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office wanted Jenkins for the execution-style murders of two Wesley Chapel teenagers.
Others, like Jeffrey Mark Lew, 47, of St. Petersburg never made headlines. Tampa police wanted him for attempted homicide and aggravated assault with a firearm for allegedly shooting an Ybor City nightclub employee.
On Thursday, the U.S. Marshals Service announced that the targeted emphasis on catching dangerous fugitives across the state and in the Tampa Bay area was part of a federal, state and local task force effort called "Operation Orange Crush."
"We targeted the worst of the worst," said Thomas Figmik, U.S. Marshals chief for the Middle District of Florida
Orange Crush lasted from July 7 through Sept. 12. The task force arrested 2,497 fugitives and cleared 2,959 warrants statewide. In this region, seven sheriffs' offices and three police departments collaborated.