SAN ANTONIO -- Taking down San Antonio’s most dangerous criminals isn’t an easy take, but someone has to do it. We were allowed to go with the U.S. Marshals Service as they served numerous warrants for an operation that landed hundreds of people behind bars.
The “Triple Beam Alliance” and began in January following a spike in crime on the city’s east side. The goal was to crack down on gangs, drugs and violence.
Robert Almonte, U.S. marshal for the Western District of Texas, said confronting wanted fugitives is never easy.
“Basically, you’re dealing with the unknown," said Almonte. "You know what these people are capable of, but you really don’t know it until you confront them."
Cameras were rolling as officers knocked on doors, and sometimes breaking them down to make their arrests.
Numerous people were put behind bars. The 5-month crackdown landed over 700 people in jail. Officials said more than 100 of them were known gang members. The operation took dozens of guns and a lot of drugs off the streets, as well.
“There's no doubt that the streets of San Antonio are safer today than they were several months ago because of this operation,” said Almonte. “There's no doubt in my mind that this operation has probably saved some lives.”
The operation was a joint effort conducted by numerous agencies including the ATF, DEA, FBI, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, San Antonio Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service as well as local and federal prosecutors.
“We know we're not going to end crime. OK, we know that. But by going after the known criminal, the violent criminal, what it tells them is we're going to make it as difficult as possible for you to operate in the San Antonio,” said Almonte.
Despite the successful end result of the operation, this high-risk job doesn't slow down for law enforcement. Officials said many of these criminals will be back out on the streets and continue to break the law.
"We don't want the public or criminals to think this is a one-time operation and we only do this once in awhile," says Almonte. "No, we're going to continue to do this whether it's on a day-to-day basis or a big operation. We're going to stay on their heals and not let them catch their breath."