Five missing and endangered teenage girls were found and 30 people were arrested in a sweeping, monthslong operation in the New Orleans area, authorities said.
Multiple agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service New Orleans Task Force, the New Orleans Police Department and the Louisiana State Police, participated in “Operation Boo Dat” from mid-October to Dec. 24.
The operation resulted in the rescues of the teens, who are ages 14 to 17, the Marshals Service said in a statement.
Two of the recovered girls were sisters, ages 15 and 16, who “may be victims of adult(s) felony criminal sexual activities,” the agency said. They were found at an apartment in Baton Rouge with assistance from the Marshals Service Middle District of Louisiana and the Baton Rouge Police Department, the statement said.
Of the 30 people who were arrests, 17 were charged with felony sex offender registration violations.
The operation included the arrest of Lorenzo Oliver, a Tier 3 Sex offender — the most serious classification. He was arrested in connection with allegations of a first-degree rape of a 12-year-old girl in an abandoned residence, according to a felony warrant last month from the New Orleans Police Department.
He had been arrested in 2013 after, authorities said, he followed a woman into a Louisiana library and tried to rape her. In 2015, he was convicted of attempted forcible rape and sexual battery and was ordered to register as a sex offender for life, according to the statement.
Another high-profile arrest was that of Lamonte Versill Morris, who was wanted on a warrant in San Patricio County, Texas, in June in connection with allegations of an aggravated sexual assault of a 14-year-old. He had gone on the run knowing he was wanted and was eventually arrested in New Orleans on Oct. 29, authorities said.
A 17-year-old girl was also arrested in Hammond, Louisiana, on human trafficking charges and was “known to have prior ties to several female runaways from New Orleans as well as ties to organized gang activities,” the release stated.
In the operation, over 100 sex offender compliance checks were attempted or completed in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.
In such checks, law enforcement officers go to sex offenders’ reported addresses of residence to verify that they still live there. “Often countless hours of follow up investigative work are required during and after compliance check,” the statement said.