Organized Crime Prosecutions for December 2023

Number Latest Month 21
Percent Change from previous month 133.3
Percent Change from 1 year ago -25.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
Table 1. Criminal Organized Crime Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2023 the government reported 21 new organized crime prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 133.3 percent 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 2023 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-25%). 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 56 percent from levels reported in 2018.

Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Organized Crime Prosecutions

The decrease 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 December 2023 was for "Organized Crime-Traditional Organization", accounting for 95.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Organized Crime-Top Intl. Criminal Org." (4.8%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for organized crime prosecutions in December 2023 was ATF accounting for 62 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of organized crime referrals were: FBI (29% ), DHS (5%), SecServ (5%). 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 December 2023, no 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.

Organized Crime Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In December 2023, 21 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during December there were an additional 0 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 December.

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 December 2023.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 1962 - RICO - prohibited activities 11 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 6 2 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 2 3 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 2 3 More
Table 2. Top Charges Filed

  • "RICO - prohibited activities" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1962) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846.

  • Ranked 3rd were "Firearms; Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 and "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 841.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In December 2023 the Justice Department's case-by-case records show that the government brought 7.6 organized crime prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the 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 of this type last month are shown in Table 3.

Judicial District Count Rank  
N. J. 10 1 More
Tenn, M 6 2 More
Penn, E 4 3 More
N. Y., E 1 4 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts

  • The District of New Jersey — with 10 prosecutions — was the most active during December 2023.

  • The Middle District of Tennessee (Nashville) ranked 2nd.

  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) is now ranking 3rd.

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 December 2023 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Irizarry, Dora L. N. Y., E 1 1 More
Diamond, Paul Steven Penn, E 1 1 More
Slomsky, Joel Harvey Penn, E 1 1 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

All 3 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of organized crime filings.

  • Judges Dora L. Irizarry in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn), Paul Steven Diamond in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and Joel Harvey Slomsky in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) ranked 1st with 1 defendants in organized crime cases.

Report Generated: February 7, 2024
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