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Prosecuting Criminal Enterprises

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 1993
This report examines how Federal criminal enterprise statutes have been applied.

Federal prosecutors can use two sets of statutes to dismantle criminal enterprises that function like businesses. The Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) statute targets only drug traffickers who are responsible for long- term and elaborate conspiracies. The antiracketeering statute, which includes the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), targets offenders who work at the top levels of various kinds of criminal organizations. This report presents statistics and commentary on matters concluded by U.S. attorneys and cases terminated in U.S. district courts from mid-1987 to mid-1990. In 1990, 2 percent of Federal offenders were convicted of racketeering or CCE charges. CCE offenders constituted less than 1 percent of Federal drug offenders. Most racketeering convictions were based either on RICO (27 percent) or interstate travel in aid of racketeering (28 percent). The predicate offenses on which racketeering convictions were based were primarily gambling offenses (21 percent), drug offenses (23 percent), and threats and extortion (22 percent). Defendants in both racketeering and CCE cases were less likely than other Federal defendants to plead guilty but were as likely as others to be convicted. This report also provides data and commentary on case-disposition method and sentencing. Overall, the data show that the criminal enterprise statutes are producing convictions and substantial sentences for drug kingpins and other major offenders. 11 tables

Date Published: November 1, 1993