A targeted effort to round up "some of the most violent" criminal suspects in New Orleans has resulted in more than 40 arrests, Police Department Superintendent Shaun Ferguson announced Tuesday.

Those arrested included two men accused in recent murders, plus a few others wanted in connection with other shootings or attempted murder cases.

Eight others were armed robbery suspects, Ferguson said.

Ferguson’s agency held up the roundup — dubbed “Operation New Year Clean Sweep” — as the type of policing tactic that helped drive murders in the city to a 47-year low in 2018, when the number of armed robberies and nonfatal shootings also dipped.

Ferguson said the city is off to an encouraging start this year in its battle against violent crime, with New Orleans registering nine murders in 2019 as of Tuesday afternoon, compared to 17 at the same time last year.

“We are making progress and our coordinated efforts are paying off,” said Ferguson, who added that the roundup was carried out during the previous two weeks or so. “This task force was charged with removing dangerous criminals from the street, and they did just that.”

Though part of the roundup, the murder arrests of Damyia McInnis and Derrick Groves had already been announced by authorities.

After his capture in Gentilly, McInnis, 28, faces counts of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in a deadly Christmas Day shooting in Algiers. The shooting left Leon Bush dead and wounded a woman who has not been identified at Gen. Meyer Avenue and Casimire Street.

Groves, 21, is one of two men facing charges of murder and attempted murder in a Mardi Gras 2018 shooting that left two dead and three others wounded in the Lower 9th Ward. He was arrested in Slidell. 

Suspects arrested in nondeadly shootings included Steven Grant, 32, who was picked up on a warrant accusing him of failing to appear at his arraignment on charges that he shot into a home in the 9400 block of Dinkins Street in New Orleans East last year, wounding a 31-year-old woman who was sleeping. Grant was also wanted in connection with a drug case in St. Bernard Parish, police said.

Another arrestee was Tamyron McClain, 21, accused of attempted second-degree murder and discharging a firearm in a shooting that wounded a man in the 1500 block of Franklin Avenue in St. Roch on Jan. 3, police said. Authorities tracked McClain to Mobile, Alabama.

Suspects arrested in armed robberies reported on both sides of the river during the last few weeks were Ceasar Alvarez, Robert Tolbert, Varhan Robinson, Derrick Bowman, Keyon Doby, Antonio Collins, Dion Richard and Darnell Doucet, police said.

A number of other people were booked with robberies not involving weapons, as well as rapes, cuttings and beatings, said police, who received assistance on the arrests from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and Louisiana State Police.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell appeared with Ferguson for Tuesday’s briefing, saying, “Criminal activity in the city of New Orleans will not be tolerated, and these arrests that we are highlighting this afternoon are really a testament to that.”

Cantrell appointed Ferguson to lead the New Orleans Police Department after Superintendent Michael Harrison announced his retirement to become the top cop in Baltimore. Ferguson was sworn in as superintendent on Jan. 18. 


Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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