NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO) — A four-month operation in the Greater New Orleans area results in nearly 40 missing children located and nine adults arrested.

Operation “This Is the Way Home,” led by the U.S. Marshals’ Missing Child Unit, was conducted from the beginning of March to the end of June. The plan focused on missing and endangered runaways, specifically in Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Tammany parishes.

The U.S. Marshals Service reports that 19 children were rescued or recovered, plus an additional 20 children who were located and/or self-returned.

The recoveries included a baby boy less than a month old who was missing out of Paragould, Arkansas. The child was found safe in New Orleans — more than seven hours from Paragould.

Another recovery was a 16-year-old boy who had been a runway from Tennessee since February of 2020. He was was found in Slidell in May with help from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office along with the USMS Middle District of Tennessee. The teen was wanted by the Clarksville, Tenn. Police Department for warrants for Possession of a Firearm, Evading Arrest, Narcotics Violations, Theft, and Violation of Juvenile Probation. He is also believed to have been involved in gang and narcotics activity in St. Tammany Parish.

The recoveries in the operation were made in or from Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, and Texas.

The investigation led to the arrest of Kolby Warren, 21, of Slidell on charges of possession with intent to distribute narcotics, illegal possession of stolen firearms, and illegal carrying of weapons. A total of nine adults were arrested on charges including felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile and/or contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

Additionally, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office confiscated the following items during the operation:

  • Seven firearms (including a rifle and a weapon that was stolen out of New Orleans)
  • Illegal narcotics that included Codeine, Oxycodone, other Schedule II narcotics, and marijuana
  • More than $17,500 cash

Operation “This Is the Way Home” was a collaboration between the following units:

  • U.S. Marshals Service New Orleans Task Force
  • New Orleans Police Department
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • Louisiana State Police
  • FBI New Orleans Field Office
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services