Southern District of Mississippi Ranked First in Nation for Indictments by Medium-Sized Offices; Most Indictments, Defendants Brought to Justice in History of Mississippi in One Year; FBI Uniform Crime Report Shows 3.9 Drop in National Violent Crime in FY2018.

Jackson, Miss. – Two years ago, the Department of Justice announced the revitalization and enhancement of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the department’s violent crime reduction strategy. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally-based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Throughout the past two years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has partnered with all levels of law enforcement, local organizations, and members of the community to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   According to FBI’s Uniform Crime Report released this week, the violent crime rate nationally decreased for the second consecutive year, down 3.9 percent from the 2017 numbers.

“The revitalized Project Safe Neighborhoods program is a major success,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “It packs a powerful punch by combining advanced data with local leadership, further reducing violence in communities across the country and improving overall public safety. U.S. Attorneys continue to focus their enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals and work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal police. The Justice Department’s relationships across the board have never been stronger.”

“We have been successful this past year because of the hard work of our prosecutors and staff, and the strong partnerships and trust we have developed among our law enforcement, our citizens, and our communities. Under Project EJECT, we have removed violent criminals from our communities, taken illegal guns off our streets, educated our young people, empowered our citizens, and helped offenders reenter society.  We are committed to continuing this good work, protecting the public, supporting our law enforcement, and making our neighborhoods safer for everyone,” said U.S. Attorney Hurst.

For Fiscal Year 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi was ranked the top medium-sized office in the country for number of indictments, outpacing the other 24 medium-sized U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the nation.   That is an outstanding improvement in just three years, where the Southern District was ranked 19 out of 25 medium-sized districts in Fiscal Year 2016.  Since FY16, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has almost tripled the number of federal criminal indictments throughout the Southern District of Mississippi, charging more defendants with federal crimes than has ever been charged before in the history of the State of Mississippi.

In December 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Project EJECT was recognized and awarded Outstanding Overall Partnership/Task Force by the U.S. Department of Justice among all 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the entire country. [link]

As we celebrate the two-year anniversary of the revitalized PSN program, here are some of the highlights of our PSN actions over the past year:

Enforcement Actions

In Fiscal Year 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office began its second year of Project EJECT in the City of Jackson, and expanded Project EJECT into other areas of the Southern District, including Hattiesburg, Meridian, Natchez and Moss Point.

For the first time in its history, the U.S. Attorney’s Office assigned a full-time federal prosecutor to each of these areas with responsibility to carry out Project EJECT and reduce violent crime.

  1.  City of Jackson
  • 88 individuals indicted for federal crimes
  • 77% of them detained awaiting trial
  • 85 illegal guns taken off the streets

Significant Cases

  • Illegal Alien Who Shot Unarmed Individual in Convenience Store Found Guilty by Federal Jury of Illegally Possessing Firearm [link]
  • Felon Who Almost Ran Over Police Officer Sentenced to 16 Years for Illegally Possessing Firearm [link]
  • Carjacker Who Held Woman at Gunpoint Sentenced to Over 12 Years in Prison [link]
  • Armed Career Criminal, with Prior Convictions for Armed Robbery and Selling Crack Cocaine Near School Multiple Times, Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison [link]
  • Jackson Murder Suspect Sentenced to Over 12 Years in Federal Prison for Carjacking and Discharging a Firearm During the Crime While on Bond by Local Judge [link]
  • Jackson Man Sentenced to 9 Years in Federal Prison for Armed Robbery of Local Business [link]
  • Jackson Man Sentenced to 7 Years in Federal Prison for Armed Robbery of Dollar General Store, Including Multiple Shoppers and Employees [link]
  • Jackson Man Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison for Armed Carjacking Using Military Style Rifle [link]
  • Georgia Man Sentenced to Almost 30 Years in Federal Prison for Carjacking and Multiple Robberies [link]
  1. City of Hattiesburg
  • Expanded Project EJECT to City of Hattiesburg on February 5, 2019 [link]
  • 19 individuals indicted for federal crimes
  • 40 illegal guns taken off the streets

Significant Cases

  • Hattiesburg Man with Multiple Felony Convictions in High Speed Car Chase Pleads Guilty under Project EJECT to Illegally Possessing Firearm [link]
  • Hattiesburg Man Previously Convicted of Armey Robbery Pleads Guilty under Project EJECT to Illegally Possessing Firearm [link]

III.  City of Meridian

  • Expanded Project EJECT to City of Meridian on February 26, 2019 [link]
  • 10 individuals indicted for federal crimes
  • 54 illegal guns taken off the streets

Significant Cases

  • Meridian Man with Multiple Prior Felony Convictions Sentenced to 3 Years in Federal Prison for Possessing Five Illegal Firearms [link]
  1. City of Natchez
  • Expanded Project EJECT to City of Natchez on February 27, 2019 [link]
  • 6 individuals indicted for federal crimes
  • 8 illegal guns taken off the streets

Significant Cases

  • Natchez Man Pleads Guilty under Project EJECT to Stealing a Firearm from a Licensed Firearms Dealer [link]
  • Natchez Man Pleads Guilty under Project EJECT to Receiving a Firearm While Under Felony Indictment [link]
  1. City of Moss Point
  • Expanded Project EJECT to City of Moss Point on February 21, 2019 [link]

Significant Cases

  • Moss Point Man Sentenced to Over 12 Years in Federal Prison for Illegal Gun and Methamphetamine Trafficking [link]
  • Moss Point Man Pleads Guilty to Gun Charges [link]
  • Jackson County Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Possession of Firearm by a Felon [link]
  • Moss Point Man Sentenced to Over 5 years in Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearm [link]

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

Project EJECT is not only focused on prosecutions, but also prevention, reentry and awareness.  Throughout the year, our office has participated with our communities, our law enforcement, our schools, our faith-based organizations, and many others in the following activities:

Prevention

  • Presentation of the L.E.A.D. Program to Kids and Adults in Meridian [link]
  • AUSA Trains Kids on L.E.A.D. Program at Boys and Girls Clubs in Jackson [link]
  • AUSA Presents L.E.A.D. Program to Adams County Sheriff’s Youth Group [link]
  • AUSAs Sponsor High School Mock Trial Team in Jackson [link]
  • AUSAs Present L.E.A.D. Program to Osceola McCarty Youth Development Summer Camp and the Hattiesburg Parks and Summer Camp at N.R. Burger Middle School
  • L.E.A.D. Program presented by AUSAs at Hattiesburg YMCA Summer Camp and the Hattiesburg Police Department P.A.L.S. program

Reentry

  • United States Attorney’s Office Hosts Re-entry Services Fair in Meridian [link]
  • United States Attorney’s Office to Host Re-entry Services Fair in Jackson [link]
  • United States Attorney’s Office to Host Re-entry Services and Jobs Fair in Natchez [link]
  • U.S. Attorney Participates in MDOC Second Annual Reentry Symposium [link]

Awareness

  • Training Recruits with Jackson Police Department on Federal Crimes [link]
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office Attends Coffee with a Copy in Hattiesburg [link]
  • Project EJECT Awards to Law Enforcement, Community, Local Heroes [link]
  • Public Awareness Campaign with Billboards Placed Around Southern District of Mississippi

Project EJECT is an initiative by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). Project EJECT is a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to fighting and reducing violent crime through prosecution, prevention, re-entry and awareness. EJECT stands for “Empower Justice Expel Crime Together.” PSN is bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go to www.justice.gov/psn.

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