Perpetrators of gun and violent crimes in Monmouth County could face more serious federal charges under an initiative being launched with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Officials introduce Project Stop the Violence (Photo by Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media)
Officials introduce Project Stop the Violence (Photo by Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media)

Project "Stop the Violence" will have representatives from both offices, as well as local and state law enforcement agencies, meet regularly to identify individuals arrested within the county who have committed gun crimes or are have been involved in violent criminal activity. The task force will screen the individuals to see which can qualify for federal prosecution.

During the unveiling of the program Friday in Asbury Park, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni spoke about the severity of federal charges, including lengthier prison times, no parole, and the possibility of being placed in any federal correction facility in the country.

"That defendant when he or she is sentenced won't be going to Trenton State Prison or FCI Fort Dix, they can go to any incarceration facility across the continental United States," he said.

Gramiccioni said the possibility of being thousands of miles away from your home could act as a way to stop crime behind bars as well as deter potential criminals.

"We feel like if you cut them off and put them on an island away from their drug trafficking networks, their families, and their gangs, they're going to shrivel up," Gramiccioni explained.

He cited his experience being a federal prosecutor in Maryland and seeing a similar program work well, especially the concept of housing criminals thousands of miles from home.

"For the most part, people involved in violent criminal activity, drug trafficking, and gang activity, they prepare themselves for the time, but they don't prepare themselves to be basically exiled or isolated thousands of miles away," he said.

To date, three cases in Monmouth County have been picked up for federal prosecution, one of which involves a defendant from Staten Island.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman spoke on Friday also, pointing out the importance of have the local and federal partnership to catch criminals who operate outside of traditional law enforcement jurisdictions.

"People drive, we've seen people carjacking in Newark and taking cars and committing crimes in other jurisdictions. We've seen people coming from Newark to go other places to carjack," Fishman said.

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