Credits: FILE PHOTO
Operation Infra-Red aims to bring public awareness to outstanding fugitives bearing "red notices" for the most serious offences, such as Gregory Allan Pictou, who was last seen in New York after fleeing Ottawa when the mummified remains of John Gleason were found in a building in the winter of 1981.
The Interpol crackdown, a global operation targeting more than 500 people wanted by more than 50 countries, urges people to scrutinize photographs of wanted suspects to see if they have met them or may have stumbled across them on social networking sites online.
Assistance from the public can be crucial, say officials, who highlighted the recent capture of alleged killer Luka Magnotta as an example. Magnotta, who was wanted for the murder and dismemberment of Concordia University student Jun Lin, was arrested thanks to a tip just four days after Interpol Ottawa issued a red notice.
"It's a blitz we're doing. For us, everyone who's on a red notice, we're looking for them," said Sgt. Marie Damian, with Interpol Ottawa. "If we had more people looking at (suspects), that would be helpful."
Only 25 suspects are publicly profiled in connection with the Infra-Red 2012 campaign. The most sought-after profiled Canadian is David Macdonald Carrol, a member of the Quebec Nomads chapter of the Hell's Angels. Carrol is alleged to have been involved in the murders of more than a dozen people.
Interpol Ottawa forwarded 23 Canadians, many wanted for murder, to its counterparts for the larger campaign. Other criminals in the campaign are wanted for offences such as child sex abuse and drug trafficking.
Officials say the goal is to bring awareness to the public to help nab fugitives, hundreds of whose mug shots can be scrolled through online.
In the Pictou case, which Ottawa police feature online, Gleason was found dead in the National Native Cultural Centre basement on Feb. 21, 1981. Three men, including Pictou, lived in a nearby room, but had fled shortly before the discovery. One man was arrested and cleared, while another was nabbed in Boston and later pleaded guilty to manslaughter, according to the police website. Pictou, who has been wanted since March 1981, was last seen in New York.
Since such Infra-Red operations first launched in 2009, there have been more than 100 arrests.
Infra-Red 2012, which launched mid-May, wraps on July 20.