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Violent And Organized Crime Section

Section Overview

AUSAs in the Violent and Organized Crime Section (VOCS) prosecute some of the most dangerous criminals in the Central District, including cases involving kidnapping, prison murders and assaults, firearms offenses, and armed robberies of banks and other commercial establishments. AUSAs in the Section also investigate organized crime groups, including traditional domestic, Asian, Eurasian, and emerging criminal organizations.

The Violent and Organized Crime Section serves as the liaison with the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program, which seeks to coordinate efforts by federal and state law enforcement, as well as community groups, to combat criminal firearm use, particularly by violent gangs. In conjunction with the PSN program, AUSAs work with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to develop criminal cases against the leaders of organized street gangs responsible for much of the Central District’s gun violence. In these and other cases involving violent organized crime, AUSAs are often involved in long-term investigations that use undercover agents, court-authorized wiretaps, surveillance, and other covert investigation tactics to develop racketeering (RICO), narcotics, and money laundering cases. AUSAs also work with the Violence Reduction Network Program, which combines federal and state law enforcement resources to tackle violent crime in the Compton area.

In conjunction with the national Project Safe Childhood Program (PSC), AUSAs in the Section lead the Office’s efforts to combat crimes against children, particularly the sexual exploitation of minors through the production, advertisement, distribution, and possession of child pornography via the Internet. The Section also coordinates the prosecution of human trafficking offenses, including those who traffic minors and adults for sex, perpetuate indentured servitude, and engage in labor trafficking.

Section Leadership

Justin Rhoades, Assistant United States Attorney
Section Chief

Justin Rhoades is the Chief of the Violent and Organized Crime Section (VOCS). He joined the United States Attorney’s Office in May 2008 and VOCS in April 2009. He became a Deputy Chief in that Section in May 2014 and Chief in January 2015. Since joining VOCS, Justin has prosecuted the full spectrum of its cases, including child pornography, bank robbery, large-scale narcotics conspiracies (including one of the largest heroin trafficking conspiracies ever prosecuted in this District), and a lengthy investigation and racketeering prosecution of more than 50 members of the 38th Street Gang. He also assisted in the investigation of the Azusa 13 Gang in a case that received the Executive Office of United States Attorney’s Office Director’s Award. Justin has handled several high-profile matters, including the extradition of an American television producer who was accused of murdering his wife while on vacation in Mexico, and the prosecution of a bank robbery duo who were featured on an episode of 20/20. Along with being a Deputy Chief of VOCS, he has also served as the office’s bank robbery coordinator, working with the FBI and local law enforcement agencies to track down and prosecute violent and serial bank robbers in our District. Justin received his undergraduate degree from Pomona College. Justin then graduated from Harvard Law School, where he was the Managing Editor of the Harvard Journal on Legislation.

Recent Cases

July 18, 2017
Press Release
Crips Gangster Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison after Being Convicted in Racketeering and Crack Cocaine Conspiracies

June 12, 2017
Press Release
Lead Defendant in Federal Case Targeting Crips Gang Sentenced to Nearly 22 Years in Prison for Racketeering Offenses, including Murder Plot

May 26, 2017
Press Release
Local Newspaper Editor Sentenced to 41 Months in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearms in ‘Guns for Haiti’ Investigation

May 23, 2017
Press Release
13 Defendants, Many Linked to Local Street Gangs, Charged with Credit Card Skimming and Narcotics Trafficking

May 17, 2017
Press Release
Task Force Investigation Targets Leadership of MS-13, including Former Top ‘Shot-Caller’ of L.A. Faction, a Dozen ‘Shot-Callers’ who Supervised Cliques and Three Members Accused of Murder

Section Contact Information

The United States Attorney's Office
Central District of California
Criminal Division
Attn: Violent and Organized Crime Section
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

Updated July 18, 2017