INDIANAPOLIS — Five times in the last ten days, federal prison sentences were handed down to repeat violent offenders as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods.
Prosecutors hope the five cases send an important message.
Running along of east Michigan near Sherman in October 2020, a man with 24 prior felony convictions shot at multiple cars and tried to hide this stolen handgun in the bushes when police arrived.
Dariel Hill, 57, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Upon further investigation, additional responding IMPD officers found several spent .40 caliber shell casings in the vicinity. The casings were located over a five-block, densely populated residential area. The casings were later determined to come from shots fired by Hill’s gun. Hill has 24 prior felony convictions, dating back to 1983.
Last April on Lasalle, Tragejo Harris shot at his girlfriend’s house and car while on parole and was caught after leading police on two high speed chases.
Harris lied to the police and claimed he sold the firearm used in the shooting. Police later located Harris’s gun under a potted plant near where Harris abandoned the vehicle after the second chase. That firearm matched the shell casings retrieved from the April 29 shooting at the car. Harris is a convicted felon who is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm. Harris was also on parole for armed robbery at the time of this offense.
Harris was sentenced to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
On Kessler Boulevard last September, police stopped Charles Brady for an outstanding warrant with a violent criminal history and found a handgun in his car.
Brady, 41, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Brady was prohibited from possessing firearms due to multiple prior felony convictions, including attempted robbery where the defendant tried to rob a victim by pointing a firearm in his face and threatening to shoot him.
While serving the probation portion of his sentence for that case, Brady was convicted of another felony offense for dealing cocaine. Brady also has a prior felony conviction for Residential Entry after breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s house after a court had issued a protective order against him.
“We‘re really ramping up our efforts and targeting those we feel are pose the biggest danger to society,” said United States attorney Zachary Myers.
In addition to those cases, a man named Dalvarez Long was convicted of having a stolen firearm with an active warrant last year at the Budget 8 motel on East 21st Street.
Long, 38, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to 51 Months in federal prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to documents and evidence presented in court, in March 2021 law enforcement officers learned there was an outstanding warrant to arrest Long for domestic battery. Long was also wanted for questioning in a homicide.
Long was subsequently charged with violations of Indiana law in state court and released on bond pending trial. After he was released on bond, Long was arrested and charged with felony intimidation in June of 2021 after he threatened to “body” or kill a woman with what appeared to be a handgun.
At the time he possessed the gun in April 2021, Long was legally prohibited from possessing firearms because he had been previously convicted of multiple felonies, including a 2016 conviction for battery resulting in bodily injury to a pregnant woman, after his violent assault on the mother of his child.
Finally, this week Derrick hart was sentenced to 17 years for a violent carjacking at a Chase bank in Lawrence.
Hart committed the December 13, 2018, carjacking and shooting while he was on federal pretrial release for similar conduct. On September 26, 2018, Hart was charged by federal criminal complaint with attempted carjacking, brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school zone.
“We’re trying to target the most high impact violent offenders,” said Myers.
“What it really highlights is the differences in accountability at state level versus federal level,” said Indy FOP President Rick Snyder.
Snyder praised federal prosecutors for holding the repeat offenders accountable, which has sometimes been a struggle for the county court system.
“Go and ask the offenders. They will tell you. The one thing they don’t want is to get charged federally,” said Snyder.
“One of the reasons we prosecute these crimes and seek these sentences is deterrence. We don’t want these crimes to happen in the first place,” said Myers.
Three of the cases were investigated as part of the LEATH Initiative. That is aimed at combating domestic violence and named after IMPD officer Breann Leath who was killed responding to a domestic violence disturbance.