Sex offender sweep in Pierce County nets 12 arrests

A dozen sex offender fugitives were picked up this week in a three-day sweep by the U.S. Marshals Office.

Operation Evergreen focused on those who have failed to register as sex offenders, some of whom had fled to other states.

Among those arrested were Barney Romero, 39, who was found hiding under a pile of debris in a Yelm warehouse. He was put on the list after failing to check in with his community corrections officer and had a warrant out for failing to register as a sex offender in Pierce County.

Romero, who listed himself as homeless, was convicted in 1992 of first-degree child molestation and has at least four convictions for failing to register as a sex offender.

D’Andre Newchurch, 23, was taken into custody after the task force found him hiding inside a Graham home thanks to an anonymous tip. He did not provide his address to his corrections officer, which is required of sex offenders.

He was convicted in 2007 of first-degree child rape.

U.S. Marshal Jacob Green said sex offenders who try to hide pose a risk to the community.

“The public deserves to know if a convicted sex offender moves into their neighborhood, and it is our priority to increase public safety by apprehending the most violent non-compliant sex offenders,” he said in a statement.

The Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, which includes local, state and federal officers, has arrested more than 13,978 sex offenders since it was created in 2010.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653