Four days, dozens of arrests: Officials share effects of ‘Operation Washout River City’

Southeast Region

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Over the span of four days, law enforcement agencies came together in a joint task force to conduct a mass deliverance of justice in Columbus to gang members and violent offenders.

The joint federal, state and local Project Safe Neighborhoods Program, centered “Operation Washout River City” in their Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts according to a news release.

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia Peter D. Leary said in a news release, “Reducing violent crime in Columbus and in every city across the Middle District of Georgia is the highest priority; there is nothing more important that the safety of our citizens.”

Leary was accompanied by Muscogee County Sheriff Greg Countryman and Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon announced the vast results of the initiative from the Department of Justice Project Safe Neighborhoods in a conference Thursday, Aug. 26.

Between Aug. 9-13, operation Washout River City included more than 50 agents, investigators, and officers from the following agencies:

  • U.S. Marshals Service-Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • FBI
  • DEA
  • Organized Crime and Gang Unit-Atlanta
  • Georgia State Patrol
  • Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office
  • Columbus Police Department
  • Georgia Department of Community Supervision
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia

Operation Washout River City consequently led to the arrest of 57 individuals, clearance of 128 warrants, seizure of 27 fierarms, and seizure of four lbs. of illegal substances.

Blackmon further explained the the operation is not over in the news release, “In order to maintain a safe city, we will continue to target gang members and those who commit violent criminal offenses. This behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Warrants successfully executed by the operation include the following listed below, these cases are currently under federal investigation and no federal charges have been filed at this time.

  • Murder
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Rape
  • Sodomy
  • Kidnapping
  • Terroristic Threats
  • Robbery
  • Armed Robbery
  • Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime
  • Intimidation of a Witness
  • Violation of Georgia Controlled Substance Act
  • Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer
  • Burglary
  • Cruelty to Children
  • Cruelty to the Elderly
  • Probation Violation
  • Parole Violation
  • Harboring Fugitives

Sheriff Greg Countryman said in a news release, ‘Law enforcement operations such as this one promotes inter-agency cooperation and networking, act as force multipliers, extends our reach beyond the borders of Muscogee County, and enhances the overall effectiveness of our operations. This operation gave us the ability to remove violent offenders from our community and bring those responsible for their respective crimes before the courts so that victims and families can see that justice is served by the courts on their behalf. Although we recognize that we cannot arrest our away out of our current circumstances, we also recognize that we cannot and will not sit idly by and allow for lawlessness to maintain a foothold within Muscogee County either. Those that contribute to the demise of neighborhoods by engaging in violent crime and illicit activity can count on similar visits during future operations of this sort.”

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