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NH to add two new federal prosecutors in fight against opioids, violent crime

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 04. 2018 7:42PM
The exterior of the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington is shown on July 14, 2009. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo)

CONCORD — The Department of Justice is adding 311 new assistant United States attorneys across the country to combat violent crime, enforce immigration laws, and battle the opioid crisis.

Two of those new federal prosecutors will work in New Hampshire under U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray. Of the 311 new positions, 190 will work on violent crime, 86 will be civil enforcement prosecutors, and 35 will be immigration prosecutors. Many of the civil enforcement assistant United States attorneys will support the newly created Prescription Interdiction & Litigation Task Force, which targets the opioid crisis at every level of the distribution system.

In New Hampshire, one of the new assistant United States attorneys will focus on violent crime, while the other focuses on civil enforcement of federal laws.

Specific individuals have yet to be appointed to the positions.

“The Department of Justice is going on offense against violent crime, illegal immigration, and the opioid crisis — and today we are sending in reinforcements,” said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement. “I have personally worked to re-purpose existing funds to support this critical mission, and as a former federal prosecutor myself, my expectations could not be higher. These exceptional and talented prosecutors are key leaders in our crime-fighting partnership. This addition of new Assistant U.S. Attorney positions represents the largest increase in decades.”

“The horrible opioid crisis plaguing New Hampshire has brought with it great suffering, including thousands of overdose deaths, illnesses and violent criminal activity associated with the drug trade,” said U.S. Attorney Murray in a statement. “Given limited resources, the additional prosecutor is critical to our ability to combat crimes of violence that endanger our citizens, especially those involving firearms.”

Murray also welcomed the addition of a new civil enforcement attorney.

“The new civil enforcement attorney will allow us to directly confront one of the factors contributing to the crisis,” said Murray. “Specifically, we will take aggressive action against practitioners who prescribe or distribute controlled substances in an illegal, irresponsible manner. We will also step up our efforts to pursue civil remedies against health care providers who defraud Medicare and other federal benefit programs.”

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