Task force arrests two wanted men in Mesa - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Task force arrests two wanted men in Mesa

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Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 5:13 pm | Updated: 4:44 pm, Thu Apr 26, 2012.

In a string of arrests, Deputy U.S. Marshals and officers assigned to the Arizona Wanted Violent Offender Task Force arrested three men over a 24-hour period wanted for sex-related crimes against children, including two in Mesa.

The man, who was arrested in Phoenix late Tuesday, was one of the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department’s most wanted fugitives for the last two months.

Howard Huffman, 61, who was wanted in Houston and had been on the lamb for four years, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at an apartment complex in Mesa, according to the U.S. Marshal’s Service in Arizona.

Huffman was wanted by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Houston on suspicion for aggravated sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14. It is alleged that Huffman sexually abused a 6-year-old child in January, 2007. A warrant was issued for his arrest in May, 2008, according to the U.S. Marshal’s Service in Arizona.

John Gamble Jr., 19, who was wanted in Barberton, Ohio on suspicion of rape, sexual misconduct with a minor and gross sexual imposition, was arrested on Tuesday at a McDonald’s in east Mesa, according to the U.S. Marshal’s Service of Arizona.

Authorities in Ohio requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service in the Northern District of Ohio who were able to obtain a tip that Gamble had fled to in Arizona. Members of the task force were quick to act on the tip and were able to locate and arrest Gamble at a McDonald’s restaurant in east Mesa, according to the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

The accusations against Gamble stem from an investigation done by the Barberton Police Department from an incident that happened in November. During the course of the investigation it was learned that Gamble had fled Ohio the day after the incident.

In a separate case, Task Force members located and arrested Ryan Atkins, 33, in the area of Seventh Avenue and Osborne Road.

Atkins, a convicted sex offender, was wanted by the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department for violating the conditions of his probation. Atkins was on lifetime probation after having been convicted of attempted sexual conduct with a minor and dangerous crimes against children. This conviction stems from an incident that occurred in 1999 involving Atkins and an 8 year old.

Atkins, who was located outside a Phoenix grocery store, initially attempted to mislead officers by not revealing his identity. Eventually, Atkins admitted who he was and, at the time he was arrested, stated he was trying to make arrangements to leave Arizona, according to the U.S. Marshal’s service.

All three men were arrested without incident, according to the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

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