Prosecutions for September 2013

Referring Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration

Number Latest Month 1,252
Percent Change from previous month 10.3
Percent Change from 1 year ago -3.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -15.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -18.3
Table 1: Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during September 2013 the government reported 1252 new prosecutions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 10.3% over the previous month.

The comparisons of the number of defendants charged are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. (See Table 1)

When monthly 2013 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-3.3 percent). Prosecutions over the past year are still much lower than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are down 15.1 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in prosecutions

The decrease from the levels five years ago in prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of prosecutions of this type recorded on a month-to-month basis. Where a prosecution was initially filed in U.S. Magistrate Court and then transferred to the U.S. District Court, the magistrate filing date was used since this provides an earlier indicator of actual trends. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. The one and five-year rates of change in Table 1 and in the sections that follow are all based upon this six-month moving average. To view trends year-by-year rather than month-by-month, see TRAC's annual report series for a broader picture.

Cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.

The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in September 2013 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 42.5 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (30.5%), " Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (24.1%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In September 2013, 245 defendants in cases for these matters were filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. These courts handle less serious misdemeanor cases, including what are called "petty offenses." In addition, complaints are sometimes filed in the magistrate courts before an indictment or information is entered. In these cases, the matter starts in the magistrate courts and later moves to the district court where subsequent proceedings take place.

In the magistrate courts in September the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 involving the "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A". This was the lead charge for 43.3 percent of all magistrate filings in September.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (39.6%).

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In September 2013, 1007 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during September there were an additional 224 defendants whose cases moved from the magistrate courts to the U.S. district courts after an indictment or information was filed. The sections which follow cover both sets of cases and therefore cover all matters filed in district court during September.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of matters filed in U.S. District Court during September 2013referred by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 463 1 2 2 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 443 2 1 1 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 9 3 3 3 More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 5 4 12 4 More
21 USC 856 - Establishment for manufacturing operations 3 5 26 20 More
21 USC 963 - Attempt and conspiracy 3 5 4 5 More
46 USC 70503 - Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US 3 5 8 14 More
46 USC 70506 - Penalties 3 5 8 12 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 2 9 7 12 More
18 USC 1952 - Racketeering -interstate/foreign travel/transport 2 9 32 20 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 2 9 5 8 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "Attempt and conspiracy" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Attempt and conspiracy" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 846) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841. "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922. "Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 600 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1952 that involves " Racketeering -interstate/foreign travel/transport ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—85.7 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " Laundering of monetary instruments " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 68.4 percent—was Penalties (Title 46 U.S.C Section 70506 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 60 %—when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In September 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 481.2 prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of prosecutions that are filed in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

The districts registering the largest number of prosecutions per capita for these matters last month are shown in Table 3. Districts must have at least 5 prosecutions to receive a ranking.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Texas, E 2,344 69 1 3 12 More
Virg, W 2,318 41 2 26 20 More
Vermont 2,123 11 3 72 70 More
Montana 1,969 16 4 87 86 More
Ark, E 1,880 25 5 23 33 More
Tenn, W 1,699 22 6 28 46 More
Wyoming 1,543 7 7 91 51 More
Mo, E 1,526 37 8 50 16 More
Wash, E 1,467 18 9 73 20 More
Ken, E 1,384 25 10 31 10 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Eastern District of Texas (Tyler)—with 2344 prosecutions as compared with 481.2 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during September 2013. The Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) was ranked 3 a year ago.

  • The Western District of Virginia (Roanoke) ranked 2nd.

  • District of Vermont is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock), now ranked 5th , and Western District of Virginia (Roanoke) at 2nd In the same order, these districts ranked 23rd and 26th one year ago and 33rd and 20th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of prosecutions compared to one year ago— 375 percent—was Montana . This was the same district that had the largest increase— 280 percent—when compared with five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of prosecutions— 16 percent—was Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).  But over the past five years, Wyoming showed the largest drop— 30 percent.

Top Ranked District Judges

At any one time, there are about 680 federal District Court judges working in the United States. The judges recorded with the largest number of new crime cases of this type during September 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Crone, Marcia A. Texas, E 47 1 4 13 More
Jones, James Parker Virg, W 36 2 95 6 More
Rufe, Cynthia M. Penn, E 35 3 487 224 More
Delgado-Colon, Aida M. Puer Rico 20 4 45 9 More
Webber, E. Richard Mo, E 19 5 - 110 More
Koh, Lucy Haeran Cal, N 18 6 487 - More
Fuste, Jose Antonio Puer Rico 18 6 27 82 More
Perry, Catherine D. Mo, E 17 8 487 29 More
Aiken, Ann L. Oregon 16 9 225 423 More
Mays, Samuel H., Jr. Tenn, W 16 9 135 69 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 5 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of filings per capita, while the remaining 5 judges were from other districts.

  • Judge Marcia A. Crone in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) ranked 1st with 47 defendants in cases. Judge Cronealso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 4).

  • Judge James Parker Jones in the Western District of Virginia (Roanoke) ranked 2nd with 36 defendants in cases.

  • Judge Cynthia M. Rufe in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) ranked 3rd with 35 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: November 25, 2013
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