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NEW YORK -- Federal marshals arrested 55 fugitives from the Long Island area in a weeklong sweep, including five people connected in murders and one person charged with raping a 4-year-old girl, federal officials said yesterday.
"These were the worst of the worst," said Eugene Corcoran, the U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of New York, at a news conference at the U.S. District Court in Central Islip. The goal of the concentrated search from June 22 to June 28 was "to remove them from the street and make our communities safe."
Corcoran said the priority of the sweep, known as Operation FALCON, is murderers, child molesters and gang members. In all, 700 fugitives in New York State or in nearby counties were rounded up in the latest sweep, including seven others wanted for murder and 53 for sex offenses, Corcoran said. FALCON stands for Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally.
Among the fugitives arrested in the current marshal's and police operation, according to Corcoran, were:
John Congiliaro, 46, who is accused of raping a 4-year-old girl in Pennsylvania. He was found working in an auto mechanic's shop in West Babylon.
Lavelle Todd, 19, who was arrested in Winston-Salem, N.C., in connection with a shooting in May at a recreation center barbecue in Central Islip in which one teenager, Robert Adams, was killed and two others wounded.
Jeffrey Williams, 44, of West Hempstead, and Rennie Cassimy, 47, of Brooklyn, who have been charged with the June murder of Williams' brother-in-law in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
Khaleel Ajibula Oyeneyin, 22, who was accused of the June murder of his pregnant girlfriend in Wake County, N.C. He was arrested by marshals in Queens.
Jose Soto-Chaverra, a doctor from Colombia who had been charged with murdering his wife there in 1993, but fled to the United States before he could be convicted and was sentenced in absentia to 28 years in prison. Soto-Chaverra provided "medical care to high-ranking members" of the Cali drug cartel, and six of the scheduled witnesses at the murder trial disappeared before they could testify.
Soto-Chaverra, who had practiced medicine in New Jersey, was arrested by marshals while waiting to start a tennis game at a court in North Bergen, N.J.
Sources said marshals on Long Island began tracking Soto-Chaverra, and one U.S. marshal, Craig Caine, had worked on the case for more than a year.