JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The Department of Justice is adding 311 new assistant United States attorneys across the country to combat violent crime, enforce immigration laws, and battle the opioid crisis. Five of those new federal prosecutors will work in Mississippi's Southern District under U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.
Of the new positions, 190 will work on violent crime, 86 will be civil enforcement prosecutors, and 35 will be immigration prosecutors. Many of the civil enforcement AUSA's will support the newly created Prescription Interdiction & Litigation Task Force which targets the opioid crisis at every level of the distribution system.
In the Southern District of Mississippi, four of these Assistant United States attorneys will focus on violent crime and one on affirmative civil enforcement. Click here to see a full list of where all 311 federal prosecutors are going: https://bit.ly/2J6dsSi
"The Department of Justice is going on offense against violent crime, illegal immigration, and the opioid crisis—and today we are sending in reinforcements," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "I have personally worked to re-purpose existing funds to support this critical mission, and as a former federal prosecutor myself, my expectations could not be higher. These exceptional and talented prosecutors are key leaders in our crime-fighting partnership. This addition of new Assistant U.S. Attorney positions represents the largest increase in decades."
Mike Hurst, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, said these new federal prosecutors will help expand his office's crime-fighting abilities exponentially throughout the district, especially when it comes to Project EJECT in the City of Jackson.
"The addition of a new civil prosecutor will also help us go on the offensive in attacking the opioid crisis here at home, as well as holding those who defraud the American taxpayer accountable in our courts," Hurst said. "Today is a great day for our state and our nation, as these actions will greatly increase the safety of our neighborhoods, enrich the lives of our citizens, and safeguard the American pocketbook."
Project EJECT launched in December 2017 to reduce violent crime in the City of Jackson through prosecution, prevention, re-entry, and awareness. EJECT stands for "Empower Jackson Expel Crime Together."
Project EJECT is part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Neighborhood, a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.
During the first six months of Project EJECT, the U.S. Attorney's Office has indicted over 50 criminals in the City of Jackson, ranging from carjacking to business robberies to felons illegally possessing firearms to illegal drugs.
The Department of Justice cites recent statistics released by the Jackson Police Department as proof that the efforts are working. They say the violent crime numbers for the City of Jackson have significantly decreased, dropping almost 25 percent from this same time last year.