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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 11, 2014

Attorney General Recognizes Beaumont Federal Prosecutor

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

         WASHINGTON – Assistant U.S. Attorney John B. Ross of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Texas was one of 243 members of the Department of Justice recognized by Attorney General Eric Holder and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) Director Monty Wilkinson at the 30th annual Director’s Awards Ceremony on Sep. 10, 2014 in Washington D.C.

The Eastern District of Texas was one of 44 districts represented at the ceremony which was held in the Great Hall at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building.

In his prepared remarks to awardees, Attorney General Holder said, “Locally, nationally, and internationally, you represent the very best that this Department has to offer.  Your work embodies our ongoing commitment – not merely to win cases, but to do justice; to protect our fellow citizens from crime, violence, and terrorism; to empower the most vulnerable among us; and to uphold the rule of law.”

EOUSA Director Monty Wilkinson echoed those sentiments, saying to the recipients, “You have persevered, and remained focused and motivated – achieving remarkable results in work that makes a difference in the lives of citizens across our great country. The vast scope of your collective accomplishments is nothing short of exceptional.”

John B. Ross, of the Beaumont office, was recognized for his distinguished service and outstanding success in related prosecutions of the Solid Wood Soldiers (SWS). The SWS is a  race-based organization that began to grow significantly in the late 2000s. Led by AUSA Ross, a multi-agency team of agents and investigators leveraged the investigation of one murder to severely disrupt and dismantle the operation and growth of the SWS criminal enterprise. In so doing, the team also effectively disrupted the Aryan Brotherhood and Aryan Circle gangs. White supremacist gang leaders who had sworn never to cooperate with the government were induced to do so. AUSA Ross used available federal statutes and investigative tools to send a substantial portion of the SWS leadership to prison to serve life sentences. This successful VICAR (Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering) prosecution highlights effective federal law enforcement and served to deter the SWS and other racketeering organizations.

            “When John was asked to take on an unsolved and unspeakably grisly murder, he did so with the knowledge that we might not ever know what had happened to James Sedtal,” said U.S. Attorney John M. Bales.  “John assembled a task force of agents and officers who worked tirelessly to find out the answers and in the process, they completely unspooled the Solid Wood Soldiers, essentially crippling that gang’s organizational hierarchy.  John Ross’ resolute work is a great example of how the Eastern District of Texas takes on cases that are much more than just solving a crime – they change the community for the better.”

EOUSA provides oversight, general executive assistance, and direction to the 94 United States Attorneys’ offices around the country. For more information on EOUSA and its mission, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao.

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Updated March 19, 2015