Organized Crime Prosecutions for October 2012

Number Latest Month 34
Percent Change from previous month 112.5
Percent Change from 1 year ago -24.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -5.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -7.7
Table 1: Criminal Organized Crime Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2012 the government reported 34 new organized crime prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 112.5% over the previous month.

The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with organized crime-related offenses 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 2012 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-24.9 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 5.2 percent from levels reported in 2007.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in organized crime prosecutions

The leveling out from the levels five years ago in organized crime prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of organized crime 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.

Within the broad category of organized crime, cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.

Case types within organized crime are

  • Organized Crime - Traditional Organizations

  • Organized Crime - Emerging Organizations

The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in October 2012 was for "Organized Crime-Emerging Organization", accounting for 94.1 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for " Organized Crime-Traditional Organization" (5.9%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for organized crime prosecutions in October 2012 was FBI accounting for 85 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of organized crime referrals were: DEA (9% ), ATF (3%), DHS (3%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3: Prosecutions by investigative agency

Organized Crime Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In October 2012, 4 defendants in organized crime 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 October 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 50 percent of all magistrate filings in October.

Organized Crime Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2012, 30 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during October there were an additional 3 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 October.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of organized crime matters filed in U.S. District Court during October 2012.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 1961 - RICO - definitions 25 1 9 4 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 3 2 2 3 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 2 3 6 1 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 1 4 5 8 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 1 4 12 13 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 1 4 - - More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "RICO - definitions" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1961) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "RICO - definitions" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1961) was ranked 9 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 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 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846. "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 was ranked 6 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 212.5 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1961 that involves " RICO - definitions ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—300 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " Hobbs Act " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1951 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 90.9 percent—was Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A (Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 85.2 %—when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In October 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 12.9 organized crime prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of organized crime 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 organized crime prosecutions to receive a ranking.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Texas, S 357 25 1 1 9 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Southern District of Texas (Houston)—with 357 prosecutions as compared with 12.9 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during October 2012. The Southern District of Texas (Houston) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 9 for most frequent use five years ago.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of organized crime prosecutions— 18.9 percent—was Southern District of Texas (Houston).  But over the past five years, showed the largest drop— 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 organized crime crime cases of this type during October 2012 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Atlas, Nancy Friedman Texas, S 25 1 2 - More
Hamilton, Phyllis Jean Cal, N 1 2 - - More
Zagel, James Block Ill, N 1 2 - - More
Coleman, Sharon Johnson Ill, N 1 2 - - More
Saylor, F. Dennis, IV Mass 1 2 - - More
Pro, Philip Martin Nevada 1 2 16 - More
Adams, John R. Ohio, N 1 2 - - More
Campbell, Tena Utah 1 2 - - More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 1 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of organized crime filings per capita, while the remaining 7 judges were from other districts.

  • Judge Nancy Friedman Atlas in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 1st with 25 defendants in organized crime cases. Judge Atlasalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 2).

  • Judges Phyllis Jean Hamilton in the Northern District of California (San Francisco), James Block Zagel in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), Sharon Johnson Coleman in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), F. Dennis Saylor, IV in the District of M assachusetts, Philip Martin Pro in the District of Nevada, John R. Adams in the Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland) and Tena Campbell in the District of Utah ranked 2nd with 1 defendants in organized crime cases.

Report Generated: February 6, 2013
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