The U.S. Marshals Service has dramatically increased its force of deputies in Louisiana and Mississippi to help state and local authorities find hundreds of registered sex offenders who fled storm-battered areas, reports USA Today. The Marshals Service, which normally has about 32 deputies assigned to the region, has nearly 200 deputies there to help find missing sex offenders and to update local registries that were created to track thousands of offenders after their release from prison, said Marshals commander Geoff Shank.
There are an estimated 1,300 sex offenders registered in the New Orleans area and another 3,500 in Mississippi. The New Orleans police department and Mississippi’s Department of Public Safety have identified 197 unaccounted-for sex offenders who could pose a threat to the public. Marshals have found about half of them – some as far away as Connecticut. New Orleans police Lt. David Benelli said, “We have no idea where they all are. Wherever they are, they have the potential of creating problems.”