MONROE, La. – United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown, along with Monroe Police Chief Vic Zordan, Ouachita Parish Sheriff Jay Russell, Ouachita Parish First Assistant District Attorney Holly Jones, and agents from the ATF, FBI, and DEA, held a press conference today to discuss their efforts to increase the investigation and prosecution of cases against violent criminals in the City of Monroe.
The Project Safe Neighborhoods program brings together all levels of law enforcement – federal, state, and local – and this community to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Because of this program and joint efforts of the agencies represented here today and other law enforcement partners, we have brought hundreds of federal firearm prosecutions in the Western District of Louisiana since 2018 and our efforts are increasing. Below are some statistics:
These statistics show that we have been committed to prosecuting federal firearm cases and getting dangerous criminals off the streets of our cities and pledge to work even harder to bring these offenders to justice. Cooperation with our state and local law enforcement partners in bringing these federal firearms indictments allows our state and local partners to concentrate on other crimes in our district.
An example of cases we are prosecuting in federal court to combat these types of crimes is an indictment that was returned today by a federal grand jury charging Montrelle Jones, 20, of Monroe, with illegally possessing a firearm by a prohibited person, knowing that he was subject to a protective order. The second count of the indictment charges Jones with possession of a firearm in a school zone. Federal laws prohibit the possession of any firearm in a school zone and Jones was found to have a loaded firearm in his possession after an altercation erupted between several individuals who were attending a basketball game at Neville High School on Friday, January 14, 2022.
An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, Jones faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000, for each of the two counts.
“The goal of Project Safe Neighborhoods is to provide safe neighborhoods in Monroe and surrounding communities where people can safely live, work and raise their families,” said U.S. Attorney Brandon B. Brown. “We will continue to work closely with other law enforcement agencies to make that happen by removing some of the most violent and dangerous offenders from our streets. This is not something new for us, but instead a renewed effort to address the violent crime in the Monroe area to rid our communities of those bad apples. Illegally carrying a loaded gun and threatening those around you is not acceptable behavior and can result in the loss of innocent lives. Our message to those who participate in these bad acts is that threatening the safety of innocent people will not be tolerated and we are committed to boosting our coordinated efforts to rid the streets of this type of crime.”
City of Monroe Police Chief Vic Zordan stated: “Mayor Friday Ellis and I are excited to be working with the Western District of Louisiana’s United States Attorney in ridding Monroe of violent gun offenders. The Monroe Police Department is dedicated to working hand in hand with our federal law enforcement partners so that violent criminals have significant and appropriate consequences for their actions. When convicted in the federal system, the offender will serve approximately 85% of their sentence in jail, as opposed to approximately 50% in the Louisiana State system.”
Ouachita Parish Sheriff Jay Russell stated: “The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office has enjoyed a long standing relationship with U.S. Attorney Brandon Brown. Together we targeted violent felony criminals, removed them from our streets and brought them to justice. We look forward to continuing our combined efforts of improving the quality of life in our community for all of our citizens.”
Ouachita Parish District Attorney Steve Tew stated: “The District Attorney’s office is fortunate to be partnered with these law enforcement agencies on the state and federal level. Our First Assistant, Mrs. Holly Chambers Jones, has been at the forefront of this operation from its inception. She has done an outstanding job in coordinating the efforts of our office with these other agencies.”
If you have any information related to individuals committing crimes of violence in Monroe, please contact Monroe Police Department at 318-329-2600 or Crime Stoppers of North Delta at 318-388-CASH (2274).
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