Feds focusing on gun crimes in Detroit program

DETROIT (AP) -- Gun crimes in a section of Detroit's east side will get extra attention from federal officials under a program announced last Thursday that is part of a crackdown on violence across the city.

The effort, called "Project 48205" after the area's zip code, was announced by U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

In August, McQuade said her office added more attorneys to its violent crime unit and would pursue more convictions for gun crimes in Detroit.

A federal agent is looking at gun-related crimes that could be prosecuted in federal courts. Using stolen guns or weapons that have scratched off serial numbers is a federal crime. McQuade's office also will look at cases in which convicted felons are caught with guns during crimes, McQuade said.

Federal charges typically carry harsher prison sentences than charges in state courts, she added.

"We want criminals to know that there are very serious consequences to possessing firearms in Detroit," McQuade said last Thursday.

The 48205 zip code partly covers one of the more blighted, crime-ridden parts of the city.

"We're letting criminals know their day is done," Mayor Dave Bing said.

McQuade also announced the indictments of 18 people accused of being part of a cocaine and marijuana trafficking ring.

The ring was believed to have operated for more than a decade.

Published: Mon, Oct 3, 2011