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Human Rights/Organized Crime

Sharad Khandelwal
Deputy Chief

Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Human Rights & Organized Crime Section lead investigations and prosecutions of a wide variety of offenders – from human traffickers to child pornographers, from those that commit hate crimes to members of law enforcement that use excessive force, and from gang members to those who commit immigration crimes.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Human Rights Unit coordinate prosecutions of all forms of civil rights violations.  One of the leading priorities in this area is human trafficking. AUSAs prosecuting these cases work closely with the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA), which is a U.S. Attorney’s Office led task force of federal and state law enforcement and non-governmental victim service organizations which provide services dedicated to rescuing victims of trafficking while prosecuting the traffickers who abuse human beings through commercial sex or labor servitude. For more information regarding HTRA and related cases, see HTRA. Another area of focus in this unit are child exploitation crimes. These prosecutors enforce the federal statutes relating to child pornography and technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes, and in doing so, help implement the Attorney General’s national anti-child exploitation crime strategy through Project Safe Childhood. Finally, AUSAs in this unit also prosecute criminal violations of federal civil rights law.  These prosecutions include all types of hate crimes, which include acts of physical harm and specific criminal threats motivated by hate based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. Prosecutors in this section also investigate and prosecute those governmental employees who criminally violate a person’s constitutional rights. These cases most often involve law enforcement officers who use excessive force.  

AUSAs of the Organized Crime Unit coordinate investigations and prosecutions of organized crime groups, violent prison and street gangs and emerging international gangs. Such organizations seek to obtain power, influence, monetary and commercial gains, wholly or in part by illegal means, while protecting their activities through a pattern of corruption and violence. Prosecutors use the conspiracy, Hobbes Act and the RICO statutes, as well as proactive undercover operations and wire taps, in order to target and disrupt these organizations. Organized crime groups include those with any ties to LCN, Russian and Eastern European, Asian, Nigerian fraud and identity theft. Gangs include Texas Syndicate, Aryan Brotherhood, MS-13, Latin Kings, HPL, Houstone and Tango Blast.

The Immigration Crimes Unit is comprised of federal prosecutors with extensive experience in the investigation and prosecution of immigration crimes. AUSAs in this unit, for example, prosecute felons who illegally reenter the United States after being previously deported, aliens in possession of firearms, aliens committing marriage and visa fraud and those who engage in human smuggling.

Each of the above units within the Human Rights & Organized Crime Section rely upon a wide range of investigative agencies including the FBI, HSI, IRS, USPIS, Secret Service, ATF, DEA, State Department-Diplomatic Security Service and a host of local and state agencies.

Updated December 19, 2017

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