Prince George's County EXILE Partners Announce Results for 2006
BALTIMORE, June 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leaders of the local,
state and federal agency partners that have joined together to implement
the Prince George's County EXILE strategy held their first annual meeting
today to discuss the progress of the program and plans for the future, the
United States Attorney's Office announced.
"Reducing violent crime in Prince George's County will require a
lengthy and coordinated effort by federal, state and local officials," said
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "The EXILE program involves
several initiatives that focus on two of the leading causes of gun
violence: too many armed criminals roaming the streets when they should be
in jail, and too little fear of the criminal justice system."
The first year of the Prince George's County EXILE program has been
marked by a significant increase in the number of federal firearms
prosecutions, lengthy federal and state prison sentences for defendants
prosecuted for firearms-related offenses, and successful efforts to take
some of Prince George's County's most violent repeat offenders off the
In addition, the Prince George's County EXILE program launched an
extensive outreach and media campaign including billboards, radio public
service announcements, and posters advertising lengthy federal sentences
received by particular defendants.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, "The success of Prince George's
County EXILE depends on the tremendous effort, energy, and dedication of
countless police officers, agents, prosecutors, and other law enforcement
professionals. We appreciate the outstanding work of these public servants
who are working tirelessly to keep Prince George's County safe."
Gregory K. Gant, Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore Field Office
of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives stated, "We are
all committed to making the streets of Prince George's County safer for our
citizens and our children, and with programs like Project EXILE, which
emphasizes a collective law enforcement effort, we believe we can
accomplish this mission."
"Together, we are taking gun-carrying thugs off our streets. Hard time
for gun crime is not just a slogan but a reality. By emphasizing federal,
state and local cooperation we are letting violent offenders know that
carrying guns has serious consequences. We will continue to work hard with
our federal partners to ensure longer, stronger and stiffer sentences for
gun toting criminals," said Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn
Judith Sachwald, Director, Maryland Division of Parole and Probation,
added, "We have many repeat violent offenders under supervision in
Maryland; having specially trained parole and probation agents work with
local and federal authorities is imperative to stopping individuals who
continue to engage in violent and criminal behavior."
Prince George's County EXILE is a unified and comprehensive strategy to
combat gun crime that combines law enforcement efforts, community action
and revitalization, and public awareness. The strategy is based on a
partnership among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, with
the assistance of community activists, educators, and civic and faith-based
organizations. The written strategy is available on the internet at:
Under Prince George's County EXILE, the United States Attorney's Office
(USAO) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
are working with other federal agencies to support the mission of our local
prosecutors and police by investigating and prosecuting as many significant
firearms cases as possible and by using the prospect of federal prosecution
to encourage defendants to take prompt guilty pleas to firearms charges in
Under EXILE, in appropriate cases, once the USAO has determined that a
case is ready to be indicted, the USAO sends a letter to the Prince
George's County State's Attorney's Office (SAO) advising that the case will
proceed federally if the defendant has not pled guilty in state court to
the mandatory five-year penalty under state law by a specified deadline.
The letter -- known as a "Federal Letter of Intent to Prosecute," or "FLIP"
letter -- is then shared with the defendant and defense counsel. If the
defendant does not plead guilty by the deadline, the defendant is promptly
transferred to federal court to face federal prosecution.
A total of 20 FLIP letters were sent to state prosecutors in 2006. Of
the 20 defendants who received FLIP letters, 11 defendants -- or 55% --
pled guilty to state charges carrying at least the mandatory five-year
sentence. Eight defendants rejected the state pleas and were indicted in
federal court. One defendant is a fugitive.
In 2006, USAO filed 51 indictments and two criminal complaints charging
53 defendants. These cases were primarily investigated by the ATF and the
Prince George's County Police Department (PGPD), but several cases were
brought by the DEA and FBI as well. The number of federal charges
represents a 42% increase in the number of indictments and an 18% increase
in the number of defendants charged federally with similar offenses in
As noted above, 11 of the total of 20 FLIP letters sent have been
resolved through state pleas. Combined with the 51 federal charges and 53
defendants in Prince George's County firearms cases, the USAO has handled a
total of 62 Prince George's County firearms cases involving 64 defendants
during 2006. This represents a 72% increase in the number of cases handled
and a 42% increase in the number of defendants charged over 2005.
Including the firearms cases investigated by agencies other than ATF
and PGPD, the total number of indictments brought against armed criminals
in the U.S. Attorney's Office Southern Division was 55, charging a total of
57 defendants. This represents a 53% increase in the number of cases
handled and a 27% increase in the number of defendants over 2005. Including
the 11 cases resolved by FLIP letters, the USAO handled a total of 66 cases
involving 68 armed criminals in the Southern Division during 2006. This
represents an 83% increase in the number of cases handled and a 51%
increase in the number of defendants over 2005.
In 2007 to date, USAO filed 25 indictments charging 30 defendants.
Violent Repeat Offenders
Under Prince George's County EXILE's Violent Repeat Offender (VRO)
initiative, a team composed of representatives of the Division of Parole
and Probation of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional
Services, the United States Probation Office, the Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA), the High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area Task Force
(HIDTA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), ATF, PGPD, the SAO, and
the USAO meet regularly to identify some of the most violent individuals in
the area -- individuals who belong to violent gangs or organizations
operating in Prince George's County and individuals who have been charged
with, or have been suspects in, shootings and murders. Some of these
individuals have pending state gun, drug or violent crime cases. Many are
in violation of their parole or probation. Others have no pending charges
but have lengthy and disturbing criminal histories. The members of the
Violent Repeat Offender team determine the most effective strategy for
arresting and detaining each individual -- including violations of parole
or probation, aggressive prosecution of pending state or federal charges,
or proactive investigations - - and monitoring the status of the pending
case or investigation of each such individual.
16 VROs were identified in 2006. Of those, six have been detained or
are facing pending charges, as follows:
* one was detained pursuant to revocation of parole or probation, and has
since been charged federally;
* one is detained pending a murder prosecution in state court; and
* four have been detained based on newly filed federal charges.
The remaining VROs are the subjects of ongoing federal investigations.
A total of 10 VROs are now actively being investigated, with others to be
pursued in the future.
During 2006, many defendants were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for
firearms possession or firearms-related offenses in Prince George's County
and have been sent to, or are awaiting designation to, federal prison
facilities outside of Maryland to serve their sentences. The following are
just some examples of those defendants (press releases relating to each
case can be found on the USAO website at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md):
16 years 8 months
16 years 5 months
life in prison
21 years 10 months
Don Thomas, Jr.
24 years 4 months
19 years 7 months
Once a week throughout 2006, prosecutors from the USAO provide legal
instruction during the PGPD's weekly inservice training for all PGPD
officers. In addition, the USAO will create a videotape to be used for all
incoming police cadets.
A key component of Prince George's County EXILE is an aggressive
media/public relations campaign to send a message to criminals and to the
broader community that any felon who carries a gun in Prince George's
County is going to jail -- that criminals will do hard time for gun crime.
The campaign is designed to alert offenders to the crackdown on gun crime
and to energize the community to support law enforcement efforts and, in
particular, their local police. During 2006, the campaign utilized radio
ads and billboards to get the EXILE message to the public. EXILE television
ads debuted in early 2007.
In 2007, Prince George's County EXILE partners hope to expand the
outreach campaign, including outreach to schools and faith-based
organizations and call-ins directed to identified felons recently released
Prince George's County EXILE is a joint effort by the SAO, PGPD, the
Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, the Governor's Office of Crime
Control and Prevention, the United States Marshals Service, ATF, DEA,
HIDTA, FBI, ICE and the USAO.
CONTACT AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or MARCIA MURPHY at (410) 209-4885