United States Department of Justice
U.S. Marshals Service
Phoenix, AZ - Yesterday afternoon, as a result of cooperative efforts by the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Department of State, Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Phoenix Police Department, members of the Arizona WANTED Task Force arrested Lazar Yousif Lazar, 33 in Washington D.C, as he re-entered the United States . In March 2009 a warrant was issued by the Maricopa County Superior Court for the arrest of Lazar after he failed to appear for court proceedings related to the prior charges of First Degree Murder, Assisting a Criminal Street Gang, Aggravated Assault, and Robbery.
David Gonzales, U.S. Marshal for the District of Arizona praised the cooperation and resource sharing of valley law enforcement agencies adding, “In today’s environment, law enforcement agencies can’t do it alone and the Phoenix Metropolitan area is no exception. The U.S. Marshals Service specializes in locating and arresting fugitives wherever they go and wherever they might try and hide, anywhere in the world.”
Lazar is wanted for his alleged involvement in a criminal syndicate that was jointly investigated by the Phoenix Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The criminal syndicate is accused of committing numerous violent crimes throughout Maricopa County including a plot to kill a DPS Investigator and bury his body in the desert.
Roger Vanderpool, Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety added, “This suspect was an alleged key component behind a criminal street gang working in the valley that was responsible for a virtual crime wave, including murder. DPS Investigators played an active role in shutting down the syndicate, we congratulate the Marshals Service for their excellent investigation resulting in Lazar returning to this country to answer for his alleged crimes.”
Lazar was initially arrested for his alleged involvement with the syndicate. He was subsequently released on a $500,000.00 bond. When he failed to appear at court proceedings an arrest warrant was issued. Shortly after the issuance of the arrest warrant Phoenix Police detectives requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service in locating and arresting Lazar. Task Force participants discovered that Lazar had left the United States, and secured issuance of an Interpol Red Notice. The Interpol Red Notices allow the warrant to be circulated worldwide with the request that the wanted person be arrested with a view towards extradition.
The U.S. Marshals Service tracked Lazar as he moved through Europe and ultimately to Iraq where he has family. The U.S. Marshals Service contacted Iraqi law enforcement and informed them that Lazar was present in the country and provided them with information related to the pending charges against Lazar in the United States.
Early in October, the U.S. Marshals Service was notified by Interpol-Baghdad that Lazar had been taken into custody by Iraqi law enforcement officials based on the issuance of the Red Notice. Lazar subsequently agreed to voluntarily return to the United States.
Yesterday, after traveling from Iraq to Vienna and then to the United States, Lazar was arrested by Deputy U.S. Marshals as he exited a plane at Dulles International Airport. Lazar was later booked into the District of Columbia jail where he will remain until he can be returned to Arizona.
“Diplomatic Security’s regional security offices in Erbil and Baghdad, Iraq worked closely with the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Department of Justice, and our law enforcement counterparts in Iraq to locate Lazar and facilitate his rapid and voluntary return to the United States to face justice,” said Patrick D Donovan, Director of the Diplomatic Security Service.
The full-time federal, state, county, and local agencies that comprise the Arizona WANTED include: U.S. Marshals Service; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Arizona Department of Public Safety; Maricopa County Adult Probation Office; Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office; Mesa Police Department; Chandler Police Department; Tempe Police Department and several part-time state and local law enforcement agencies.
The U.S. Marshals Service is the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. Annually, U.S. Marshals arrest more than 50 percent of all federal fugitives and serve more federal warrants than all other federal agencies combined. For more information on other USMS 15 Most Wanted fugitives and USMS Major Cases, go to www.usmarshals.gov.
Additional information can be found at: www.interpol.int/public/Data/Wanted/Notices/Data/2009/10/2009_14510.asp
David P. Gonzales
United States Marshal
District of Arizona