About the Law

Federal prosecutors frequently choose to charge individual defendants with a variety of crimes under a number of different statutes. An organized crime figure who committed a murder, for example, might be indicted for murder, a variety of weapons charges, and numerous organized crime and conspiracy offenses. A bank robbery in which a weapon is used may result in both weapons and bank robbery charges. During the data collection process, the Justice Department asks the prosecutors to select the "lead charge" on all referrals that they handle. Obviously, these judgments often are somewhat subjective when multiple serious charges are involved. Sometimes, they are influenced by the political needs of the moment: an administration, for example, that wants to show the public it is concentrating on organized crime or on violence with weapons.

Here then, as viewed through the lens of federal prosecutors across the country, are the most frequently cited "lead charges" involved in referrals coming from the ATF. The complete text of these frequently cited lead charges can be viewed by selecting the particular statute of interest in the following table.

Click on statute to view text

U.S. Code Description
 08 USC 01326 Reentry of deported alien
 18 USC 00002 Aiding and Abetting
 18 USC 00287 False, fictitious or fraudulent claims
 18 USC 00371 Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US
 18 USC 00554 Smuggling goods from the United States
 18 USC 00641 Public money, property or records
 18 USC 00842 Explosives - Importation, manufacture, etc
 18 USC 00844 Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives
 18 USC 00922 Firearms; Unlawful acts
 18 USC 00924 Firearms; Penalties
 18 USC 00926A Interstate transportation of firearms
 18 USC 01001 Fraud/false statements or entries generally
 18 USC 01201 Kidnaping
 18 USC 01341 Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles
 18 USC 01343 Fraud by wire, radio, or television
 18 USC 01513 Retaliating against a witness, victim or informant
 18 USC 01951 Hobbs Act
 18 USC 01958 Interstate commerce facilities - murder for hire
 18 USC 01959 Violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity
 18 USC 01962 RICO - prohibited activities
 18 USC 02118 Robberies/burglaries w/controlled substances
 18 USC 02119 Carjacking
 18 USC 02342 Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts
 18 USC 03146 Penalty for failure to appear
 18 USC 03583 Term of supervised release after imprisonment
 21 USC 00841 Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A
 21 USC 00844 Penalty for simple possession
 21 USC 00846 Attempt and conspiracy
 21 USC 00848 Continuing criminal enterprise
 21 USC 00860 Distribution or manufacturing in or near schools a
 26 USC 05841 Registration of firearms
 26 USC 05861 Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts

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