With violent crime making frequent headlines in the Baton Rouge area, it's probably not surprising that more than a third of the criminal cases prosecuted by the local U.S. Attorney's Office last year were for violent crimes.

Violent crime accounted for 37 percent of the office's prosecutions, followed by immigration crimes at 26 percent, white collar crime at 14 percent and drug crimes at 10 percent, according to a 2017 annual report released this week by acting U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson.

The largest division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baton Rouge is the criminal division with 22 prosecutors.

As the annual report notes, Amundson announced in October that federal, state and local law enforcement had created a violent crime "strike force." It's aimed at identifying the area's most dangerous individuals and groups and putting them behind bars while deterring others from pursuing the same path.

The strike force was a response to an uptick in violent crime in Baton Rouge, Amundson said.

"A team of federal prosecutors and federal, state, and local law enforcement agents will be assigned to each of the identified groups and will utilize all legal means at their disposal to pursue those groups in a series of thorough, long-term investigations," the annual report states.

Another problem plaguing East Baton Rouge Parish that federal prosecutors are involved in tackling is opioid abuse.  Dr. Beau Clark, the parish coroner, announced last month that overdose deaths in the parish — there were 111 last year — jumped by 25 percent compared with 2016.

The U.S. Attorney's Office annual report says the office has made opioid-related investigations and prosecutions a priority, working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement to provide all necessary resources to opioid investigations.

The office also is partnering with other federal agencies, including the FBI, to probe opioid-related crime in the medical sector, the report adds.


Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.