FBI New Orleans
Craig C. Betbeze
(504) 816-3274
September 15, 2016

New Orleans Gang Task Force Receives the 2016 FBI Director’s Award for Harvey Hustlers Case

The Director’s Awards are among the highest and most prestigious in the FBI. Recipients are chosen from among many nominations representing individuals, teams, and divisions across the FBI. They each showcase the courage, compassion, and commitment to excellence for which the FBI is known. This year’s recipients include men and women who investigated deadly terrorist and cyber attacks, designed innovative technology and training, and provided exceptional service to colleagues and victims of crime. These achievements range from technical to administrative to operational. Some you’ve read about in the news, and others will never be known outside the Bureau—yet all of them set an example of excellence to which we can aspire.

Within the New Orleans Division, an FBI-led task force was among those praised for their superior work in dismantling a criminal organization in the New Orleans metropolitan area. On Thursday, September 15, 2016, members of the FBI New Orleans Gang Task Force, along with several prosecutors, traveled to Washington D.C. and received the Director’s Award from FBI Director James Comey for their outstanding work in investigating and prosecuting the members of the violent Harvey Hustlers street gang. Those receiving the Director’s Award include FBI agents and employees, sworn federal task force officers from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office-Eastern District of Louisiana and the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office.

Over the course of several years, the Gang Task Force arrested members of the Harvey Hustlers, bringing federal and state charges for various narcotics violations to include heroin, cocaine, and crack distribution; numerous firearms related offenses; murder in aid of racketeering; and homicide. Eventually, 22 defendants were charged in a RICO conspiracy. As a result of this investigation by the Gang Task Force, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office, the Harvey Hustler gang and several spinoff gangs associated with the Harvey Hustlers were completely dismantled, with more than 65 individuals being convicted for drug and violence related crimes. Through this large-scale joint investigation, the murder rate in Jefferson Parish from the start of the Harvey Hustler investigation was reduced by approximately 39 percent from 2009 to 2015.

For their exceptional work in the Outstanding Criminal Investigation category, the FBI New Orleans Gang Task Force was honored with the 2016 FBI Director’s Award.