For Immediate Release
Minkler Announces Arrests in Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative
U.S. Attorney’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative targets the most violent offenders collaborating with ATF and local law enforcement
Indianapolis - United States Attorney Josh Minkler and Trevor Velinor, ATF Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Columbus Field Division today announced the results of an anti-violence initiative called Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). The goal of PSN, working together with federal, state and local law enforcement is to reduce the number of criminal homicides and non-fatal shootings in the Evansville area.
Focusing our law enforcement resources on the most violent in our society will reduce crime, save lives and help make our neighborhoods safer,” said Minkler. “Those who choose to terrorize Southwestern Indiana with gun violence should know ahead of time, federal law enforcement is watching and will respond with federal resources.”
The United States Attorney Evansville Division team led by Deputy Chief Todd Shellenbarger has demonstrated steeled determination to target the area’s most violent and habitual gun-toting felons for federal prosecution. This renewed focus has yielded over 33 federal firearms cases in 2018, 22 of which were based in the Evansville PSN district. These cases were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Evansville Police Department, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Department, the Indiana State Police, and the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office.
In support of the PSN program, and to assist and strengthen the efforts of local enforcement to reduce violent crime in Evansville, the ATF sent a surge of resources to Evansville between July 24 and September 24, 2018. During this time period, five additional ATF agents and Task Force Officers were assigned to the Evansville ATF office. These additional agents and officers teamed up with Evansville police officers to aggressively pursue firearms cases in Evansville. The surge resulted in the arrest and prosecution of numerous suspects for federal and state charges.
Federal defendants facing firearm and drug-related charges as a result of the surge include:
- Charles C. Baughn, 35, Vincennes, Indiana
- Gary Bentley Jr., 51, Evansville, Indiana
- Joseph Byers Jr., 35, Boonville, Indiana
- Jamal Christopher, 34, Norcross, GA
- Kurtis A. Evans, 42, Vincennes, Indiana
- Austin G. Greene, 19, Bedford, Indiana
- Justin Helsley, 27, Newburgh, Indiana
- Samuel King, 35, Evansville, Indiana
- Terry W. Morris II, 19, Cloverdale, Indiana
- Barry Scott, a/k/a Barron Scott, 58, Vincennes, Indiana
- Marvin Robinson, 46, Jeffersonville, Indiana
- William K. Thompson 31, Evansville, Indiana
“These arrests represent the culmination of countless hours of investigative work with our partners at the Evansville Police Department, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office, the Indiana State Police, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office,” stated Trevor Velinor, Special Agent in Charge for ATF’s Columbus Field Division. “We have forged and strengthened our cooperative efforts with the goal of removing violent individuals from the streets and returning our community to its rightful owners, those living, working, and raising families there. These arrests represent just the first step in that continuing work.”
“We take pride in having great relationships with other law enforcement agencies, including our Federal Partners. When we all work together, it makes our communities much safer. This latest effort only reinforces what can be accomplished when we all work together.”
In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the Office’s firm commitment to prosecuting those who engage in violent crime using firearms. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan 2.3.