You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 4, 2018

ON 500TH DAY OF TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS ANNOUNCES 311 NEW ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY POSITIONS

CONTACT:  Barbara Burns
PHONE:      (716) 843-5817
FAX #:         (716) 551-3051 

Largest Increase in AUSAs in Decades Allocates Four New Prosecutors to the Western District of New York to Focus on Violent Crime, Civil Enforcement, and Immigration Crimes

BUFFALO, NY – On the 500th day of the Trump Administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that the Department of Justice is taking a dramatic step to increase resources to combat violent crime, enforce our immigration laws, and help roll back the devastating opioid crisis.

In the largest increase in decades, the Department of Justice is allocating 311 new Assistant United States Attorneys to assist in priority areas. Those allocations are as follows: 190 violent crime prosecutors, 86 civil enforcement prosecutors, and 35 additional immigration prosecutors. Many of the civil enforcement AUSA’s will support the newly created Prescription Interdiction & Litigation Task Force which targets the opioid crisis at every level of the distribution system.

"Under President Trump's strong leadership, the Department of Justice is going on offense against violent crime, illegal immigration, and the opioid crisis—and today we are sending in reinforcements," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "We have a saying in my office that a new federal prosecutor is 'the coin of the realm.'  When we can eliminate wasteful spending, one of my first questions to my staff is if we can deploy more prosecutors to where they are needed. I have personally worked to re-purpose existing funds to support this critical mission, and as a former federal prosecutor myself, my expectations could not be higher. These exceptional and talented prosecutors are key leaders in our crime fighting partnership. This addition of new Assistant U.S. Attorney positions represents the largest increase in decades."

In the Western District of New York, two of these AUSAs will focus on violent crime, one on civil enforcement, and one on prosecuting immigration crimes. The United States Attorney for the Western District of New York issued the following statement:

“I am grateful to the Attorney General for the additional manpower which will allow the men and women in our Buffalo and Rochester offices to continue and to build upon the tremendous work they do day in and day out. The allocation of these positions to our Office is tangible evidence of the fact that the Administration recognizes that our Office is providing taxpayers a phenomenal return on their investment. 

The Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) working in our Narcotics and Violent Crimes Section have worked tirelessly to remove violent criminals, along with the guns and the drugs they often possess, from the streets of our communities. Over the last decade, we have prosecuted 14 violent streets gangs in Buffalo and Rochester whose members sought to destroy the quality of life for residents. In particular, the successful prosecution of the 7th and 10th Street Gangs, which vastly improved the quality of life for residents living on Buffalo’s West Side, is an example of those efforts. The addition of two more prosecutors to focus on violent crime will allow our office to continue these actions until we rid our communities completely of the scourge of violent gang activity.

We have recently started a new Strategic Operations and Prosecution (STOP) Section, which will work to rid our community of the worst-of-the-worst in terms of violent offenders.  Study after study shows that the majority of the violence in any given community is committed by a small handful of violent criminals. By targeting those individuals—the Alpha criminals if you will—we expect to be able to further to drive down violence in our communities.

Moreover, our office has been on the front lines for more than five years prosecuting illegal opiate dealers at all levels. From the common street dealer to the medical professional prescribing outside the course of accepted practice, these defendants are putting drugs into the hands of our struggling loved ones and we have sadly lost too many lives. While prosecution is but one of several prongs of the opiate reduction strategy which we have adopted, with treatment and prevention being the others, we have been both aggressive and progressive handling these cases.  While much of the credit belongs to many in the community who have done an exemplary job responding to the opiate crisis, the fact that in 2017 the number of deaths resulting from drug overdoses in Erie County declined for the first time in 5 years is proof positive that our collective efforts are working. The addition of a Civil Enforcement AUSA—to a unit which each year has recoveries which far exceed our Office’s annual operating budget—will provide just one more tool with which to fight this deadly epidemic and to hammer home the point that crime doesn’t pay.

In addition to focusing on violent crime and the deadly opioid epidemic, our office will continue efforts to secure the international borders located in the Western District of New York. The addition of an AUSA to focus on immigration issues will help to ensure that those who seek to enter our country illegally are apprehended and prosecuted.  In so doing, we will be enforcing the rule of law and reinforcing the notion that in a just society people must follow the law.”

Updated June 5, 2018