BALTIMORE — Whether it is local, state or federal prosecutors, they all can agree on one thing.
“All of us standing here today find the gun level of violence in Baltimore totally unacceptable,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lenzner.
With that, Lenzner unveiled plans to add three more prosecutors to the team charged with putting away some of the city’s most violent criminals on federal gun charges.
The program is called Project EXILE, and last year, four such Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys charged 73 federal gun possession cases in the midst of the pandemic.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby supports the expansion of the program, despite criticism that she has backed off on prosecutions in the city.
“You get caught with a gun. You know the gun in fueling the violence and the homicides in our city. You’re going to be held to account,” said Mosby. “However, if you’re caught with weed, we’re not going to prosecute that, because that’s something that has nothing to do with public safety, and as we already agree, I can tell you from the mayor and the commissioner, our resources coming out of this global pandemic should be used for violent offenses.”
Under the program, investigators are also using a federal ballistics database to tie illegal weapons to other unsolved crimes.
Funding for the expansion comes from the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victim Services.
Governor Larry Hogan issued a statement following the announcement saying, “I have repeatedly stressed the need for real action to get the shooters and murderers off the streets of Baltimore City”.