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Violent And Organized Crimes Section

Section Overview

AUSAs in the Violent and Organized Crime Section handle cases involving the most serious violent crimes including arsons, prison murders and assaults, bombings, firearms offenses, and bank robberies.  AUSAs in the Section also handle cases involving crimes committed by organized crime groups, including traditional LCN (La Cosa Nostra) prosecutions, as well as prosecutions involving other emerging criminal organizations, including Russian and Asian organized crime cells.

AUSAs in the Section help run the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program and the Anti-Gang Initiative, both of which seek to coordinate efforts by federal law enforcement, local law enforcement, and community groups to counter criminal gun use, particularly gun use by violent criminal gangs.  As part of PSN and the Anti-Gang Initiative, AUSAs work with agents from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (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, wire-taps, surveillance, and other covert investigation tactics to develop racketeering (RICO) cases based on various violent offenses.   Other targets of the USAO’s efforts to reduce violent organized crime include large-scale organized crime groups operating in the Central District and elsewhere. 

AUSAs in the Section also helped to create and now coordinate the efforts of the Southern California Regional Sexual Assault and Exploitation Felony Enforcement Team (SAFE Team), a multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional task force dedicated to the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of child sexual abuse, child prostitution, and child pornography, with an emphasis on sexual predators and distributors of child pornography on the Internet.  In addition, AUSAs in the Section help run the USAO’s human trafficking program and Violence Reduction Network Program

Section Leadership

Justin Rhoades, Assistant United States Attorney
Section Chief

Justin Rhoades is the Chief of the Violent and Organized Crime Section (VOCS).  AUSA Rhoades joined the United States Attorney's Office in May 2008 and the Violent and Organized Crime Section in April 2009.  He became a Deputy Chief in that Section in May 2014.  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.  Prior to coming to the Office, Justin worked for nearly eight years as an associate at Latham & Watkins in the Washington, DC and San Francisco offices.  Justin received his undergraduate degree from Pomona College, where he spent part of his junior year working as an intern in the White House Office of Speechwriting.  Justin then graduated from Harvard Law School, where he was the Managing Editor of the Harvard Journal on Legislation.

Recent Cases

October 18, 2016
Press Release
Compton Man Sentenced to More Than Ten Years in Prison for Illegal Firearm and Methamphetamine Sales

October 14, 2016
Press Release
Two Leaders of El Monte Street Gang Receive 15-Year Prison Terms for Federal Racketeering, Narcotics and Money Laundering Offenses

September 28, 2016
Press Release
British Man Who Came to U.S. to Have Sex with Pre-Teen Boys Pleads Guilty and Agrees to 13-Year Sentence

September 9, 2016
Press Release
Three Lead Defendants in Large Racketeering Case Targeting Crips Gang Plead Guilty to Federal Charges, Including Murder Conspiracy

September 6, 2016
Press Release
San Fernando Valley Man Pleads Guilty in 2013 Shooting Spree at LAX and Admits First-Degree Murder of TSA Officer

Section Contact Information

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

Updated October 18, 2016