Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Jeff Jensen hosted a press conference earlier today to report the successes of the Safer Streets Initiative, an unprecedented federal-state partnership aimed at prosecuting violent crime.
Through the initiative, lawyers from the Attorney General’s Office were cross designated as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys (SAUSAs) to help prosecute violent crime federally with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In the Eastern District, five SAUSAs were sworn in in April of 2019 and worked up to a full caseload towards the end of 2019. Since then, those SAUSAs have issued 223 charges, indicted 131 defendants, and taken 145 illegal guns off the streets. Those numbers are subject to fluctuate and change every week.
“The very first initiative I announced after taking office as Attorney General was the Safer Streets Initiative, simply because tackling violent crime is an incredibly important and timely issue in the City of St. Louis and across the state. Three of Missouri’s major cities, including St. Louis, are consistently ranked in the list of most dangerous cities per capita - that’s unacceptable,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Since getting to work, our SAUSAs have made undeniable progress in prosecuting violent crime. That includes hundreds of charges issued against over one hundred defendants. In continuing to work with U.S. Attorney Jensen’s talented team, I’m confident that our new class of SAUSAs will continue to build on this progress as we work tirelessly to help make our communities safer.”
Across the state, in both the Eastern and Western Districts, the Safer Streets Initiative has resulted in 314 charges filed against 181 defendants, and 267 illegal guns have been taken off the streets.
Felon in possession charges account for a large number of the charges filed in the Eastern District, but other charges include: possession with intent to distribute, carjacking, carjacking resulting in death, Hobbs Act robbery, drug distribution, witness/victim tampering, assault on a law enforcement officer, accessory after the fact, and more.
In the Eastern District, three new SAUSAs will join two existing SAUSAs who were previously sworn in last year. The three new SAUSAs have already been sworn in and are currently building a caseload.