About the Law

Federal prosecutors frequently choose to charge individual defendants with a variety of crimes under a number of different statutes. An organized crime figure who committed a murder, for example, might be indicted for murder, a variety of weapons charges, and numerous organized crime and conspiracy offenses. A bank robbery in which a weapon is used may result in both weapons and bank robbery charges. During the data collection process, the Justice Department asks the prosecutors to select the "lead charge" on all referrals that they handle. Obviously, these judgments often are somewhat subjective when multiple serious charges are involved. Sometimes, they are influenced by the political needs of the moment: an administration, for example, that wants to show the public it is concentrating on organized crime or on violence with weapons.

Here then, as viewed through the lens of federal prosecutors across the country, are the most frequently cited "lead charges" involved in referrals coming from the ATF. The complete text of these frequently cited lead charges can be viewed by selecting the particular statute of interest in the following table.

Click on statute to view text

U.S. Code Description
 08 USC 01326 Reentry of deported alien
 18 USC 00002 Aiding and Abetting
 18 USC 00111 Assaulting, resisting, impeding certain officers
 18 USC 00371 Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US
 18 USC 00554 Smuggling goods from the United States
 18 USC 00842 Explosives - Importation, manufacture, etc
 18 USC 00844 Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives
 18 USC 00922 Firearms; Unlawful acts
 18 USC 00924 Firearms; Penalties
 18 USC 00926A Interstate transportation of firearms
 18 USC 01001 Fraud/false statements or entries generally
 18 USC 01512 Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant
 18 USC 01623 False declarations before grand jury or court
 18 USC 01951 Hobbs Act
 18 USC 01962 RICO - prohibited activities
 18 USC 02119 Carjacking
 18 USC 02342 Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts
 21 USC 00841 Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A
 21 USC 00846 Attempt and conspiracy
 21 USC 00856 Establishment for manufacturing operations
 21 USC 00860 Distribution or manufacturing in or near schools a
 26 USC 05861 Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts

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