U.S. Attorneys Announce Initiative to Combat Violent Crime and Drug Trafficking in Tri-State Area
ASHLAND, Ky. – Today, the three United States Attorneys for the Tri-State area: Robert M. Duncan, Jr., of the Eastern District of Kentucky; Michael B. Stuart, of the Southern District of West Virginia; and Benjamin C. Glassman, of the Southern District of Ohio, along with representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), state and local law enforcement and prosecutors, and other law enforcement partners announced the formation of a law enforcement working group, to enhance joint efforts to combat violent crime and drug trafficking in the Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio Tri-State area.
The working group met for the first time on February 9, 2018, in Ashland.
The collaboration is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s enhanced Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, a crime reduction program incorporating long-standing law enforcement partnerships to help produce a long-term, meaningful reduction in violent crime. PSN is a comprehensive approach to public safety, one that includes prevention, enforcement, and reentry efforts.
The working group will focus its efforts on individuals responsible for violent crimes and significant drug trafficking activities in the area. As part of the collaborative partnership, members of ATF, FBI, DEA, and state and local law enforcement personnel will meet regularly to share intelligence, and to review cases about the most dangerous offenders in the area, including those cases in which the offender’s conduct involves possession or use of a firearm. The cases will be evaluated to ensure that the most appropriate penalties will be applied to the offenders, whether in federal or state court. The ultimate goal of the collaboration is to reduce violent crime and access to illegal drugs, and make the Tri-State safer.
“As Attorney General Sessions has confirmed, combatting violent crime, reducing access to drugs, and partnering with state and local law enforcement efforts are top priorities for the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Duncan. “By working together to investigate and prosecute the most dangerous individuals in the Tristate, we are sending a clear message that we will protect our communities against those who do them harm. If you are using firearms to commit acts of violence or illegally selling drugs – especially those that cause an overdose death – you are on notice: your conduct will not be tolerated; and if it continues, you risk arrest, prosecution, and the forfeiture of your freedom.”
“The good people of the Tri-State and good cities like Huntington, Ashland, Ironton and Portsmouth, have paid too high a price because of violent crime and the drug scourge. Effective partnerships, sharing resources and intelligence, and aggressive enforcement are the best offense to defeat those that bring chaos and despair to our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Stuart. “Now is the time to take our streets back from violent offenders and drug dealers that cause havoc. We are committed to working together as true partners in this fight to reduce violent crime, protect our citizens, and put dangerous criminals behind bars for as long as possible.”
“State lines don’t stop criminals from committing violence in our communities, so they shouldn’t stop our law enforcement efforts, either,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “Today’s announcement highlights our dedication to working together across governmental levels and geographic boundaries to get the job done.”
Today’s announcement follows U.S. Attorney General Sessions’s directives to federal law enforcement and prosecutors, to reinvigorate the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program in an effort to reduce rising violent crime in America, and to combat access to illegal drugs, particularly opiates and opioids.