CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Jill Rose, the United State Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, said Thursday that she has more tools to fight crime under the Trump administration.
Rose made the comments in an exclusive interview with WBTV following a massive gang roundup that resulted in 83 people being indicted.
In speaking about the indictment - which charged the suspects with crimes associated with their alleged membership in the United Blood Nation gang - Rose said her team was able to press charges that would previously not been possible under the Obama administration's Department of Justice.
"You said that you have more tools under the Trump Administration than you did under the Obama administration to bring gang members to justice?" a reporter asked. "That is true," Rose replied.
Specifically, Rose took issue with a set of directives handed down by then-Attorney General Eric Holder aimed at not prosecuting non-violent, low-level drug offenders.
"Well, I've never met a non-violent, low-level drug offender in federal court," Rose quipped. "What the Holder memo said was don't charge the mandatory minimums and don't charge the - don't allege the prior convictions that could enhance their sentence."
That directive, which was issued by Holder in 2013, was rescinded last week by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In overturning the Holder memo, Sessions instructed prosecutors to do an "individualized assessment" of each defendant's conduct, CBS News reported.
"Congress passed those laws so that we could use them," Rose said of the mandatory minimums and prior conduct enhancements. "But the (Obama) administration told us not to."
Rose said the additional charging options made available by Sessions' reversal of the Holder memo will help her fight gangs more aggressively.
"Should people in the community, would you say, feel more safe under President Trump than they did under President Obama?" a reporter asked.
"I don't know how people feel but we certainly have the full force and effect of federal laws at our disposal," Rose responded.