LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Julie Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Christina Pharo, United States Marshal, U.S. Marshals Service, Amos Rojas Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Robert Parker, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department, and Alexander E. Rolle, Jr., Chief, Homestead Police Department, announced the formation of a county-wide Firearms Interdiction, Reduction and Enforcement Strike Force (“FIRE”).
Strike Force FIRE is a multi-agency strike force comprised of federal agents and state and local law enforcement officers. It will increase investigative and prosecutorial resources throughout Miami-Dade County to reduce gun violence and to pursue federal prosecutions of firearms cases where appropriate. The Strike Force, in particular, will focus its efforts on the worst offenders, including armed violent groups and gangs, firearms traffickers, armed career criminals, and convicted felons. The Strike Force will seek federal prosecution in a combined law enforcement effort to reduce violent criminal activity in Miami-Dade County.
Although the Strike Force will cover the entire county, it will focus its efforts in high-crime neighborhoods. The Strike Force will be a roving, high-impact group that will move from neighborhood to neighborhood within our county, focusing on specific hot spots where gun and gang-related crime is highest. By focusing on these specific hot spots, the goal of the Strike Force is to remove the most serious and violent offenders from the affected neighborhoods by using federal gun laws to prosecute violators.
Over the past year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, through the work of its federal, state and local law enforcement partners, has dramatically increased the number of firearms cases prosecuted in the District. In Fiscal Year 2007, the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted 307 firearms defendants, the most in the District’s history. This number represents an increase from 224 defendants in 2006 and 221 defendants in 2005. Moreover, the increase in the number of prosecutions was accompanied by a similar increase in the length of imprisonment for sentenced firearms defendants.
U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta stated, “Violence from illegal firearms, which daily results in senseless deaths and slaughter of innocents, has to stop. We will do our part to stop this cycle of violence.”
Julie Torres, Special Agent in Charge of ATF, stated, “Plain and simple, guns and gun violence should never be the order of the day. This initiative has compiled the best of the best from our law enforcement community to investigate, arrest, and prosecute federally the worst of the worst criminals that have been preying on our neighborhoods.”
Christina Pharo, United States Marshal, stated, “Gun violence is a growing epidemic in the South Florida area. As a law enforcement agency and as citizens of this community, the Marshals Service for the Southern District of Florida will continue to commit resources towards making our neighborhoods safer. This joint initiative will have a significant positive impact in our communities by removing violent offenders from our streets.”
“The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will continue to work closely with our federal and local partners to target firearms traffickers, career criminals, and armed violent gangs or groups using guns to commit crimes in South Florida,” said FDLE Special Agent in Charge Amos Rojas, Jr. “There is no room in our communities for these criminals, and we will be taking them off of the streets.”
Miami Dade Police Director Robert Parker added, “This cooperative effort between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies reinforces our collective prioritization and commitment to getting guns and violent offenders off the streets in our communities. The overall objective of the FIRE Strike Force is to identify, apprehend and prosecute individuals who are committing and associated with violent crimes with guns. Our goal is to reduce crime and the fear of crime in this community.”
Alexander E. Rolle, Jr., Chief of the Homestead Police Department, stated, “Homestead Police Department is an active partner with federal, state and local law enforcement officers to reduce gun violence and violent criminal activity in our community. We wholly support the U.S. Attorney’s initiative for a multi-agency firearms interdiction strike force. “
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.