Federal and State Law Enforcement in Maryland and DC Announce New Regional Carjacking Prosecution Task Force to Address Spikes in Carjackings Over the Past Year
Also Announced Two Initial Federal Indictments Resulting from Enhanced Cross-Border Collaboration
Greenbelt, MD (STL.News) Today, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner announced the formation of a regional carjacking task force designed to promote cross-border coordination in the prosecution of carjacking cases. Mr. Lenzner was joined in making the announcement by the other members of the prosecution task force: Acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia Channing D. Phillips; Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy; and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy. They were also joined by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials from agencies in Maryland and D.C. that are involved in the investigation and prosecution of these crimes.
The carjacking prosecution task force was created to ensure the prosecution of individuals who engage in carjacking and robberies in multiple jurisdictions, which can create challenges to holding the perpetrators accountable for the full extent of their criminal conduct. The task force of federal and state prosecutors are working together to ensure that law enforcement agencies in the region work together to build thorough investigations that encompass all of a perpetrator’s crimes, even if they are committed in multiple jurisdictions. Through real-time collaboration, the members of the task force are able to gather evidence from multiple jurisdictions and share information about specific individuals responsible for these crimes. The federal and state prosecutors in the task force collaborate to decide the jurisdiction in which a particular defendant should be charged, in order to ensure they are adequately held accountable for their crimes. This cross-border partnership between federal and state prosecutors’ offices mirrors similar collaboration among the police departments in Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, Washington, D.C., and among the FBI and ATF.
Acting U.S. Attorney Lenzner also announced that a federal grand jury has returned the first federal indictments filed in Maryland resulting from the collaborative work of the new carjacking task force. The two separate indictments charge three men with committing carjacking and related firearms offenses that occurred in February 2021. The indictments were both returned on May 12, 2021, and are discussed in greater detail below.
“The regional carjacking prosecution task force will ensure that the perpetrators of these violent crimes will not escape justice when they cross jurisdictional borders,” said Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner. “By working with our federal and local law enforcement partners here in Maryland and in Washington, D.C., we can coordinate our response, remove violent criminals from our communities, and obtain justice for the victims of these violent crimes. The spike in carjackings in the area is simply unacceptable, and we are all committed to working together to counter with a robust law enforcement response.”
“The crimes resulting from these carjackings pose a serious public safety danger. Our office is committed to ensuring that the residents of the District of Columbia and surrounding jurisdictions will see justice from the prosecution of the individuals who commit these alarming acts,” said Acting United States Attorney Channing D. Phillips. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to uphold the law and provide a viable solution in order to make our communities safer.”
“The rise in carjackings in and around Prince George’s County and the region has become a very serious issue. This task force will enable us to address these crimes in a regional fashion and we stand ready to work with our state and federal partners to get these very serious and dangerous crimes under control,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy.
“Crime doesn’t stop at the border of one jurisdiction to another neither should justice. Violent criminals who commit carjackings wreak havoc all around the DMV and this joint task force will hold them accountable for their horrible acts against unsuspecting residents no matter where it happens or where they’re from,” said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
Two Carjacking Indictments Announced Today
The first indictment charges Elijah Greene-Parker, age 19, and Rashaun Onley, age 21, both of Washington, D.C., with armed robbery and with carjacking two victims on February 5, 2021, and with three counts of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. If convicted, Greene-Parker and Onley each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the robbery; a maximum of 15 years in federal prison for each of the two carjacking counts; and a mandatory minimum of seven years and up to life in federal prison for each of the three counts of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm. The defendants have had an initial appearance in U.S. District Court and were ordered to be detained pending trial. This case is being investigated by the FBI – Baltimore Field Office, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Prince George’s County Police Department, and the City of Alexandria Police Department. Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lenzner thanked the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for their assistance. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy F. Hagan, who is prosecuting the case.
The second indictment charges Mikye Dione Speaks, age 22, of Glenarden, Maryland, with a carjacking that occurred on February 15, 2021, during which he allegedly stole a 2020 Ford Edge from a victim at gunpoint. If convicted, Speaks faces a maximum of 15 years in federal prison for carjacking and a mandatory minimum of seven years and up to life in federal prison for using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Speaks is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on May 21, 2021. He is currently detained on related state charges. The case was investigated by the Prince George’s County Police Department and FBI – Baltimore Field Office. Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lenzner thanked the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for its assistance and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Rajeev R. Raghavan, who is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.