Maryland U.S. Attorney Announces Strategies to Use Additional State Funds to Reduce Violent Crime

Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Leaders Renew Commitment to Fight Violent Crime Together

Per the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland (8/24/22): – At a press conference earlier today, U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron, joined by federal, state, and local partners announced that his office is devoting more federal resources than ever before to fight violent crime in Maryland.  These resources have been made possible by an unprecedented level of state funding to support these efforts.  Partners at today’s announcement included:

U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron;
Governor Larry Hogan;
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh;
Mayor Brandon Scott;
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Toni Crosby;
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget;
Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant Special Agent in Charge Rob Turner;
Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge James Harris;
Secretary Robert Green of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services;
Maryland State Police, Colonel Woodrow Jones;
Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison; and
Representatives from the Maryland Congressional delegation.

As discussed at the press conference, the Maryland General Assembly passed Governor Larry Hogan’s allocation of $3.5 million to support 14 additional Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, 10 additional investigators, five data analysts, and four legal support personnel, with the support of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.  The hiring process for those positions has already begun in the Attorney General’s Office and several Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys have already started to combat violent crime on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. Attorney Barron announced today that the newly established Violent and Organized Crime Section is being expanded by the 30 new state-funded positions.  In addition, U.S. Attorney Barron has encouraged prosecutors to use all available resources to investigate and prosecute repeat violent offenders—specifically to look at any wrongdoing that meets office priorities, including COVID-19 CARES Act fraud, in particular unemployment insurance fraud, Paycheck Protection Program fraud, Economic Injury Disaster Loan fraud, and utilizing a federal school zone statute that makes it a crime to possess a gun within 1000 feet of a school.

“The appalling multi-victim shooting at Park Heights Avenue today underscores the need for the steps announced and the renewed commitment from our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to reduce violent crime,” said U.S. Attorney Erek Barron.  “I have instructed my staff to provide whatever assistance we can to ensure that the shooters from the incident today are quickly arrested, taken off the street, and brought to justice.  We will continue to use every legal means necessary to fight violent crime in Baltimore and throughout Maryland.”

“For eight years our administration has been fighting to give law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges the tools they need to fight violent crime and to hold violent criminals accountable,” said Governor Larry Hogan.  “A critical piece of that has been active collaboration and coordination between all levels of government.  I want to thank U.S. Attorney Barron for continuing the long-standing partnership we have had with the federal prosecutor’s office, and I want to commend him for building on our crime-fighting efforts with these new initiatives.”

“I am pleased to join local, state, and federal leaders to share this announcement and show that, together, we are dedicated to making the streets of Baltimore the safe spaces that we know they can be,” said Mayor Brandon Scott.  “I look forward to working with each and every agency that shares our commitment to reducing violence.”

“ATF is proud to work with all local, state, and federal partners in our collective efforts to reduce violence.  The core of ATF’s mission in Baltimore is to identify, investigate, and apprehend trigger-pullers and traffickers by using the crime gun intelligence model.  Firearms tracing, ballistic forensics from crime guns, and partnership are the cornerstones to this intelligence-led approach,” said ATF Baltimore Field Division Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby.  “We have seen policemen shot. Coaches, college students, and even children murdered.  The street crews and gangs who commit shootings nearly every day do so without conscience, and we are relentless in our pursuit of them.  Since 2019, partnered ATF Special Agents and Baltimore Police Task Force Officers on our Crime Gun Enforcement Team have closed 50 homicide cases and 22 nonfatal shooting cases, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Maryland Attorney General’s Office.  With every closed case, we hope that the families of the victims feel some sense of justice.  By working collaboratively with our law enforcement partners, and with the community, we will continue to do everything in our power to take the most violent offenders off Baltimore streets.”

“The resources and programs we outlined today, along with the proactive work conducted with our community members and our partners, are going to make all the difference in reducing drug-related violent crime here in Baltimore,” said Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of DEA Washington Division.  “Working proactively to truly address these issues and make sure all of our area families can live safely is our top priority”

“We cannot expect to make a difference in the lives of our citizens if we do not work together, which is why the continuation of the funded task forces is key to the violent crime fight,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Turner.

“We would be naive to think that we have all the answers to the many factors that play a part in an individual committing senseless acts of violence,” said Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore. “However, we have some amazing tools at our disposal, and we have developed some strong partnerships. If we can continue to engage in the initiatives that decrease the number of gangs and violent criminals on our streets, the initiatives that disrupt the selling of deadly drugs, and the initiatives that diminish the possession and trafficking of illegal weapons, we will see a significant downward trajectory in the number of violent incidents. This is something we all want and deserve, and it is something that we know we can eventually achieve.”

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