(WASHINGTON) — Applications will pour in from across the country. Murderers, rapists, child predators and swindlers. Who should replace Jose “Joe” Luis Saenz on the FBI’s ‘Ten Most Wanted’ List?
Los Angeles FBI officials, with help from Mexican authorities, arrested Saenz late in the day on Thanksgiving, leaving an opening on the FBI’s list of the most dangerous criminals in America.
Saenz was wanted for allegedly killing two rival gang members as well as allegedly kidnapping, raping and killing his girlfriend 14 years ago. He joined the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list along with Mexican drug lord Eduardo Ravelo and Russian mobster Semion Mogilevich in October 2009, after three other accused criminals were apprehended that year.
Special Agent Scott Garriola, who was part of the Los Angeles team that helped take down Saenz, said “there’s always a sense of accomplishment” in bringing in someone from the most wanted list.
“But just personally there’s no real time to just sit back and relax,” Garriola said. “We’ve all got a busy case load. It’s on to the next case.”
FBI officials will soon be considering a fresh batch of the accused. They don’t keep a pool of potential additions in mind, so they had no names to offer Monday.
To pick America’s next most wanted criminal, the FBI accepts submissions from all 56 field offices.
According to the FBI, today’s top offenders make the list for “violent crimes, cyber crimes, drug trafficking, crimes against children and international money laundering schemes,” as opposed to the 1960s, when “destruction of government property, sabotage, and kidnapping” were the most popular. There is no “number one” top tenner, as each person on the list is considered equally dangerous in the eyes of the FBI.
America’s most wanted crimes are most likely to come out of New York, a state with 32 claims on the list. Hawaii, Alaska, Rhode Island and North Dakota are the least likely, having hosted none of them.
The FBI has named 497 suspects as most wanted since a reporter first asked for a list of their “toughest guys” in 1950, according to their records. Eight of those wanted – less than 2 percent – have been women.
Accused child pornographer Eric Toth, kidnapper Adam Mayes and murder suspect Fidel Urbina all made the list this year. Toth replaced Osama bin Laden on the list. Mayes shot himself when officials found him and the two young girls he abducted one day after he was added to the list.
The Most Wanted list is a way for the FBI to crowdsource the American public, giving the names of dangerous criminals attention they might not otherwise receive to help track them down.
More than a quarter of criminals on the list were captured thanks to media promotions. Only two captures came from the Internet so far.
But America’s most wanted are not branded for life in all cases. Members of this most dangerous band of criminals can be captured, killed or turn themselves in; the charges against them can be dropped; or the FBI could classify them as less dangerous than previously thought, all of which would get them a one-way ticket off the list.
No suspect on the list has had their charges dropped in 26 years.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio