U.S. Attorney for the Kansas District Barry Grissom addressed the local rotary club during a visit to Newton Tuesday.
Grissom talked about the types of crimes his office deals with and went over cases that had been successfully prosecuted.
The U.S. attorney's office protects the public against terrorism, civil rights and liberties violations, gangs and drug dealers, illegal immigration and white collar crime, Grissom said.
Kansas is the third highest state in the nation for illegal gun prosecutions, Grissom said.
Grissom talked about a “high intensity drug trafficking area” in Kansas City, Kan. in which drug dealers operating near a school had terrorized a neighborhood. Families felt so terrorized they wanted buses to take their children to school, which was only around 1,000 feet away.
“That's unacceptable,” Grissom said.
The case was prosecuted with 49 counts against gang members, Grissom said.
In Dodge City, 23 members of a gang were indicted on RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) charges. Traditionally, RICO charges have been used against the mafia.
“You have a real impact on peoples'' lives if you go in and take a surgical strike,” Grissom said.
Taking 23 people criminals out of Dodge City would be proportionate to wiping 400 or 500 out of Wichita, Grissom said.
The U.S. attorney's office does not go after immigrants simply for being undocumented. They have to have committed a crime or been ordered to be deported before the office steps in, Grissom said. His office does prosecute employers who hire undocumented immigrants and gain an “unfair competitive advantage.”
Grissom appeared most incensed when talking about sexual predatory crimes against children. The biggest surprise about his job, he said, is the exponential explosion of child sexual abuse on the internet. The ability to take pictures with cell phones and spread them worldwide via the internet has led to the growth of this crime, Grissom said.
Prosecutors not only have to watch videos of this activity; they hear the screams of children as they are violated, Grissom said.
"It's a sound that will never leave you," he said.