U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst’s overarching goal since being appointed by President Trump in 2017 has been to get the office back to work, more than doubling prosecutions his first year, as we pointed out last week.

Reducing the violent crime rate by seven percent in Jackson while slashing carjackings in half are accomplishments to celebrate, this all thanks to a directive by President Trump to reduce violent crimes nationwide. Elections matter.

As part of the crackdown, in March, a Philadelphia man was sentenced to over 22 years in federal prison for trafficking meth.

 




The charges stemmed from a multi-state task force investigation dubbed “Operation Highlife.” The network, involving in the distribution of meth, cocaine and marijuana, is believed to have encompassed California, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. 

Hurst recently championed the crackdown mandated by the Trump administration, which is why elections matter.

The same week Hurst championed the crackdown during a Rotary Club speech in Canton, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s 150th judicial appointment.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham called the number of confirmations a “historic milestone,” with the South Carolina Republican saying, “These conservative judicial appointments will impact our nation for years to come.”

While violent crime had been on the decline nationally for a decade, the rate shot back up in 2015 and 2016.

In December 2017, soon after Hurst was appointed, his office initiated Project EJECT (Empower Justice, Expel Crime Together), a collaborative between the Jackson Police Department and the feds to focus on getting violent offenders off the streets of the capital city.

Jackson was the seventh most deadly city in the nation at that time. The violent crime rate was 200 percent higher than the national rate and 120 percent higher than the state.

In the first full year, 120 individuals were indicted and two-thirds have already been convicted. 

“This is a big thing,” Hurst said because the feds were able to detain 95 percent of the suspects until trial whereas in the past suspects were mocking the police about being able to get out of jail.

Jackson has a corrupt judicial system and that’s a warning to us all. Madison County is the opposite so the smart crooks avoid crossing County Line Road.

The task force has been replicated in Meridian, Natchez, Hattiesburg and Moss Point. They plan to do the same things in those cities they’re doing in Jackson.

When they first cranked up the task force two years ago, Jackson police officers would tell Hurst the criminals were laughing at them.

“Mike, I’ve arrested this guy for the fourth time, and he’s laughing at me in cuffs,” police would say. “And he’s laughing at me because he tells me, ‘I’m going to be back out on the street before you’re done with your paperwork.’”

The average sentence with Project EJECT is hovering around five years in federal prison. “And we know it’s working because we’re hearing things the criminals are saying,” Hurst said.

The bad guys realize the feds are in town and it’s a whole different ballgame. “We’re going to be shipped out of state to serve our prison sentence and we won’t be close to all of our buddies and in the same prison with all of our buddies,” they’ll say, according to Hurst.

“And so there’s a real deterrent effect when we can come into town work with our district attorneys, work with our police departments, work with our sheriff’s offices and ... prosecute them federally.”

For those getting out of prison, the program speaks to jobs and career options, school or learning a trade. There’s help getting a driver’s license or birth certificate. 

“Things that prepare them so that when they come out they can become law-abiding and productive citizens and not just turn back to crime and become another statistic,” Hurst said.

A seven-percent reduction in violent crime in Jackson means 180 fewer victims. 

Lives matter and elections certainly matter, as we’ve seen with President Trump’s judicial appointments and his directives on violent crime.