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June 10, 2023

Five missing teenage girls found, 30 sex offenders arrested in monthslong New Orleans operation

Five missing teenage girls found, 30 sex offenders arrested in monthslong New Orleans operation

Five missing and endangered teenage girls were found and 30 sex offenders were arrested in a sweeping, monthslong operation in the New Orleans area, authorities said.

Multiple agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service New Orleans Task Force, the New Orleans Police Department and the Louisiana State Police, participated in “Operation Boo Dat” from mid-October to Dec. 24.

The operation resulted in the rescue of the teens, ranging in age from 14 to 17, according to a news release from the U.S. Marshals Service. 

Two of the recovered girls were sisters, ages 15 and 16, who “may be victims of adult(s) felony criminal sexual activities,” the agency said in the release. They were found at an apartment in Baton Rouge with assistance from the USMS Middle District of Louisiana and the Baton Rouge Police Department, according to the release.

Of the 30 arrests, 17 were charged with felony sex offender registration violations.

The operation included the arrest of Lorenzo Oliver, a Tier 3 Sex offender — the most serious classification. He was arrested in connection with the alleged first-degree rape of a 12-year-old girl in an abandoned residence, according to a December 2021 felony warrant from the New Orleans Police Department.

He had previously been arrested in 2013 after authorities said he followed a woman into a Louisiana library and attempted to rape her. In 2015, he was convicted of attempted forcible rape and sexual battery and was ordered to register as a sex offender for life in the case, according to the news release.

Another high-profile arrest was that of Lamonte Versill Morris, who was wanted on a San Patricio County, Texas, warrant in June 2021 in connection with the alleged aggravated sexual assault of a 14-year-old. He had gone on the run knowing he was wanted and was eventually arrested in New Orleans on Oct. 29, authorities said.

A 17-year-old girl was also arrested in Hammond, Louisiana, on human trafficking charges, and was “known to have prior ties to several female runaways from New Orleans as well as ties to organized gang activities,” the release stated.

In the operation, over 100 sex offender compliance checks were attempted or completed in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. 

In such checks, law enforcement officers go to a sex offender’s reported address of residence to verify the person still lives there. “Often countless hours of follow up investigative work are required during and after compliance check,” the release said.

Marlene Lenthang

Marlene Lenthang is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.

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