New prosecutors are coming to the state of Mississippi. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice allowed for 311 new prosecutors nation-wide.
The positions were newly created and U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said the office of the Southern District of Mississippi received five additional prosecutors which he says is attributed to the increased number of prosecutions his office has had.
“I think we got more than any district in California, any district in New York, any district in Florida and they have much bigger offices, but I think the Attorney General saw how much we were doing and how many prosecutions we have had,” Hurst said.
In 2016, Hurst said his office had 188 indictments. This year, they are predicting to have about 420 indictments which will be a 120% increase. One of the indictment areas that has contributed to that large increase is illegal immigration.
“We prosecuted 11 folks for immigration back in 2016 and this year we’re approaching 66 so, about a 500% increase in illegal immigration prosecutions,” Hurst said.
With the additional five prosecutors, he will now have 38 on staff. Hurst added that four of the prosecutors will be focused on violent crime and the additional one will be focused on civil prosecution. Referencing violent crime in the state, Hurst said that the number of illegal firearms prosecutions have gone up this year as well.
“Syracuse University just completed a study and found that our district, the Southern District of Mississippi, had the greatest increase of any U.S. Attorney’s office in the nation over the past one year,” Hurst said. “Our federal firearm prosecutions were up 182% from this time last year.”
In the next year, Hurst added that he is looking into going after violent crime in the cities of Hattiesburg, Meridian, Moss Point, Natchez, and due to the recent deaths of two police officers, possibly Brookhaven.
“We are looking to see where violent crime is, where gangs are and try and attack them on their own turf,” Hurst said.