Salt Lake County’s Metro Gang Unit has captured three of the county’s most-wanted gangsters in the past month. Officials say it’s mostly a coincidence that they’ve nabbed the fugitives in such a short period of time, but its evidence that the unit’s relationship with the public is crucial to these arrests.
On Tuesday, Detectives in the Unified Police Metro Gang Unit arrested 23-year-old Jacob D. Vigil, who’s a known member of a violent street gang. Vigil was wanted on federal gun charges, robbery, assault, theft and drugs. Unified Police Lieutenant Marianne Suarez heads up the gang unit.
“With a lot of gang members they have a lot of ties in the community with other gang members, family members who are willing to protect them,” Suarez says.
Vigil was named this past week by unified police as the latest Public Enemy Number one, a program that began about a decade ago to help catch the counties most violent gang criminals. Earlier in June two other fugitives on the list, 32-year-old Antonio Rafael Shropshire and 34-year-old Jamie Hamlin were also arrested. Suarez says usually the public or the friends of these fugitives don’t even know that their friend is wanted.
“So once it comes on the media and all the sudden people realize, hey this person is wanted, they’re more likely to call in,” Suarez says. “We can’t do it alone. It’s that community help, and you see it all the time whether it’s a missing person or a fugitive.”
Suarez says hopefully these last three arrests will motivate the public to help officers find additional fugitives.