Two years ago, federal and local law enforcement officials promised to bring Project Exile and its federal prosecution of gun law offenders to Prince George’s County, Md., a relatively high crime area adjoining Washington, D.C. The idea was that convicted felons caught carrying firearms would face the prospect of federal prosecutions and long sentences in distant federal prisons. Police in Baltimore have poured manpower into the effort, and the initiative is seen by many as one reason the city is on pace for its lowest homicide total in decades.
Prince George’s police dedicated only one officer to the initiative. This year, while Exile investigations in Baltimore have produced federal charges against 177 people, Prince George’s cases have led to federal indictments against 34 people. Now, Acting Prince George’s Police Chief Roberto Hylton will assign 10 detectives to work on Exile cases with agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In Baltimore, the effort has been unusually successful in putting federal agents and prosecutors alongside local police and state prosecutors, U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said. “The level of coordination is — I believe is unprecedented, certainly here and maybe even nationwide,” he said.