3 immigrants arrested in Linwood

November 15, 2006

Three people were taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers Tuesday morning in Linwood.

According to Leavenworth County Sheriff Dave Zoellner, he and other officers attempted to serve warrants at several residences in Linwood, starting about 6 a.m. Tuesday.

"I contacted immigration because at some of the addresses we had warrants for, the people didn't speak English," the sheriff said. "I didn't know whether they were illegal or they were legal."

Two immigration agents joined Zoellner and 12 sheriff's office employees during a three-hour stay in Linwood.

Zoellner said the attempt to serve warrants actually was unsuccessful. None of the 15 people his officers sought was apprehended. But officers are pursuing leads, the sheriff said.

"We were there today, and we will be there again," he said.

The activity in Linwood is part of a larger effort, he said, to track down people for whom his office has arrest warrants. The office has about 2,500 outstanding arrest warrants, and the list is growing.

The sheriff has formed a new unit, headed by Lt. Charlie Yates, which will work on getting a handle on that number, along with other duties.

"I just chose to be more aggressive on the warrant side," Zoellner said.

Some arrest warrants are treated more seriously than others.

"I would never want anybody to think that if we had a warrant for a murderer or rapist or protection from abuse orders that that doesn't have priority and get special attention," the sheriff said.

In Linwood, officers tried to serve a variety of warrants, he said, ranging from failure to appear after being sentenced to jail to drug possession. Linwood is different from Basehor and Tonganoxie, the two other cities in the southern portion of the county.

"They do not have a police department, so we are their law enforcement," the sheriff said.

He said his office has undertaken similar operations in the city of Leavenworth.

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