Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun and gang crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun and gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful. Since its inception in 2001, approximately $2 billion has been committed to this initiative. This funding is being used to hire new federal and state prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun lock safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime, and develop and promote community outreach efforts as well as to support other gun and gang violence reduction strategies.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee works with local, state and federal partners, including the ATF, the FBI, the DEA, the ICE, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the TBI, several Sheriff’s offices and Police Departments to target, investigate, and prosecute the most violent firearms offenders. Outreach, education, and training programs are also part of the program to increase public awareness and to deter violent offenders from continuing to engage in firearms offenses. Some of the prosecutions brought through the Project Safe Neighborhood initiative are:
In January 2017, Cornelius Q. Hill, 29, of Chicago, was sentenced to 90 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Hill pleaded guilty to these charges, contained in a federal indictment, in October 2016. https://www.justice.gov/usao-edtn/pr/chicago-man-sentenced-90-months-heroin-and-firearms-charges-1
Benjamin Harold Hall, 35, of Jonesborough, Tennessee was sentenced in November 2016 to serve 42 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of two firearms. Hall pleaded guilty in June 2016. The firearms were discovered when he was arrested by officers, after an August 2015 domestic altercation at his residence in Jonesborough. Federal law makes it a crime for anyone convicted of a felony to possess a firearm or ammunition. https://www.justice.gov/usao-edtn/pr/jonesborough-resident-sentenced-serve-42-months-prison-possession-firearm-after-felony
In October 2016, Freddie Coufax Swaggerty, 52, of Newport, Tennessee was sentenced to serve 188 months in federal prison. Swaggerty was convicted after a jury trial in May 2016 of two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Evidence produced at trial established that Swaggerty approached Cocke County Sheriff’s Officers on the Cocke County Courthouse lawn with three loaded firearms protruding from his pockets. https://www.justice.gov/usao-edtn/pr/newport-resident-sentenced-serve-188-months-prison-unlawfully-possessing-firearms
Joshua Leroy Cooper, 32, of Knoxville was sentenced in August 2016 to serve 140 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in April 2016 to possessing firearms and ammunition as a previously convicted felon. The firearms were discovered as a result of a search warrant executed at Cooper’s residence by the Knoxville Police Department because of narcotics purchases at his home. One of the recovered firearms had been reported stolen. https://www.justice.gov/usao-edtn/pr/joshua-leroy-cooper-sentenced-serve-140-months-prison-federal-firearms-offenses
For more information about the PSN Program visit http://www.psn.gov.