CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Local, state and federal law enforcement arrested 33 people during a three-day round up to get sex offenders off the street. The announcement was made at a news conference Friday morning.
Authorities are calling it "Operation AWOL." The three-day operation was launched last Tuesday and focused on sex offenders with ties to the Lowcountry.
The US Marshals service said Friday that 33 arrests were made in the Lowcountry and 20 more were arrested in other states.
One of those people was accused sex offender 22-year-old Montrell Hezekiah. Hezekiah was wanted by Summerville police for molesting a 6-year-old girl in July. Hezekiah was taken into custody at a Central Park Road residence on James Island on Tuesday. He was booked into the Dorchester County Detention Center pending court proceedings.
"This operation should serve as a message to every unregistered offender our there," said US Marshal Kelvin Washington. "You know you are required to register. We're gonna come looking for you and we're gonna find you. We're gonna put you in jail."
Washington said the sweep also led to the arrests of two men wanted on attempted murder charges and armed robbery charges.
"We've become heavily involved in the apprehension of unregistered sex offenders, especially those which cross state lines and fail to register in their new jurisdiction," Washington said.
Eleven of the suspects were arrested for failure to register as a sex offender. They are Alvin Goodwin, 59, Benjamin Brown, 58, David Floyd, 45, Michael Session, 52, Richard Gadsden, 53, Antavius Gadsden, 31, Michael Singleton, 44, King Davis, 58, Taylor Ladson, 46, Nigel Webb, 32, and Richard Gilcrest, 43.
Webb was arrested in Tennessee and Gilchrist was arrested in Florida.
Agents from the State Law Enforcement Division and several local sheriff's offices were at the news conference held at the Charleston County Detention Center.
The agencies involved in the operation were the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, Charleston Police Department, North Charleston Police Department, SLED and the US Marshals Service.