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Fugitive arrested in Cedar Springs


Eric Louis Johnson

Eric Louis Johnson

By Judy Reed

A man sought by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force was arrested Wednesday, July 15, at the corner of 18 Mile and N. Main Street in Cedar Springs.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the Kent County Sheriff Department, Cedar Springs Unit, the U. S. Marshals contacted them and told them they had a visual on the suspect and gave them a description of the vehicle.

“Deputy Potts conducted a traffic stop at 18 Mile and N. Main. The passenger in the vehicle was identified as Eric Louis Johnson, 51, and he was arrested without incident and lodged in the Kent County Correctional Facility on outstanding warrants,” said Kelley.

He is currently being held on a sex offender charge of failure to comply with reporting, and a failure to appear for another charge in Lake County. Bond was set at $5,325.

Johnson was convicted in 2002 of third degree criminal sexual conduct in 49th District Court in Big Rapids, and is on the sex offender registry for life. Under Michigan law, a Tier 3 sex offender must report his address to law enforcement four times a year. The last time he verified his whereabouts was in April 2013.

Johnson was one of three men profiled last month in a story on Fox 17. The story said the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force was asking for tips from the public to track the three men down. The story noted that Johnson’s criminal record included sexual assault, burglary, and resisting and obstructing police.

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State police to conduct statewide sex offender sweep

From Oct. 17-28, law enforcement agencies across Michigan will join together to focus investigative efforts on finding individuals in violation of the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act (P A 295 of 1994). The effort, dubbed Operation Verify, is the states eighth annual statewide sex offender sweep.
This sweep occurs following the October quarterly verification period because that allows for a more accurate list of noncompliant offenders, stated Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police (MSP). This means any registered offender who wants to spare themselves a visit from troopers should verify their address with law enforcement as soon as possible.
The Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act requires registered sex offenders to regularly report to their local law enforcement agency, sheriff’s office, or nearest state police post to verify their address. Tier 1 offenders must verify their address annually, during the first 15 days of January. Tier 2 offenders must verify their address semi-annually, during the first 15 days of January and July. Tier 3 offenders must verify their address quarterly, during the first 15 days of January, April, July and October. Failure to do so carries a penalty of up to two years of incarceration.
All registered sex offenders must also report a change of name, address, employment, campus enrollment, Internet identifiers and vehicle within three business days of any change. Failure to do so is four-year felony.
This statewide sweep comes on the heels of an effort over the past 12 months in which officers from 120 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies conducted residence checks of compliant offenders at the registered residences of nearly 22,000 offenders. This effort resulted in 252 arrests and 981 requests for arrest warrants for violations of the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act (MCL 28.723 – 28.732).
In addition to Operation Verify, the MSP participates in several local and regional sweeps each year. The department also maintains a list of the most wanted sex offenders at www.michigan.gov/absconders. Fourteen most wanted offenders were arrested in 2010, and so far this year, three most wanted offenders have been located or arrested.
As of September, there were 39,930 offenders on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry; 37,321 offenders were in compliance with the registry’s requirements.

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