Officials Renew Effort To Take Gun Cases To Federal Court

BALTIMORE (AP) — Law enforcement officials in Baltimore are renewing an effort to prosecute gun crimes in federal court where the penalties are stiffer.

News outlets report that the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Maryland on Wednesday unveiled a renewed push of the initiative known as Project Exile with the addition of three more local and federal prosecutors.

The local effort, part of a national program, represents a partnership of the U.S. attorney’s office, federal agents, Baltimore police, prosecutors and Maryland’s attorney general to steer gun cases from state to federal court.

“The main thrust of our strategy is stronger criminal enforcement bringing impactful cases using all of our resources to target violent criminal organizations in Baltimore,” acting U.S. Attorney of Maryland Jonathan Lenzner said at a news conference.

Starting last year, Gov. Larry Hogan’s office funded four special assistant U.S. attorneys to take gun cases to federal court. There’s no parole in the federal court system, and a conviction typically brings a longer prison term.

The additional special prosecutors brings the unit seven people. Officials call it a “force multiplier.”