Jim Greenlee

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Greenlee announces stepping down from U.S. Attorney post

OXFORD – United States Attorney Jim M. Greenlee, formerly of Batesville, announced that he will retire from his position as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi effective January 31.

Greenlee was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in as U.S. Attorney in 2001 after serving as an Assistant United States Attorney since 1987,  giving over 22 years of service to Northern District of Mississippi.

The Northern District of Mississippi played an instrumental role in assisting with the investigation of the murder of Emmitt Till, a civil rights “cold case” that was reopened in 2004 during Greenlee’s term.

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He also directed the investigation and prosecution of a number of individuals associated with the failed Mississippi Beef Processing Plant. His office handled the far-reaching public corruption investigation involving Richard F. “Dickie” Scruggs and a number of his associates, as well as Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter.

Greenlee and his staff, together with federal and state law enforcement officials, recently have investigated a large, multi-state ring of tobacco manufacturers, importers and wholesalers seeking to circumvent payment of millions in state and federal taxes.

“To say that it has been an honor to serve with the people in this office is a remarkable understatement,” stated Greenlee. “It is they who have made this office successful with many accomplishments coming for the right reasons while seeking justice.”

Greenlee’s priorities also included white collar crimes, public corruption, drug and gun trafficking, violent gang crime, child and internet pornography, and identity theft.

Under Greenlee’s direction, the Northern District has successfully worked with federal law enforcement officials to dissolve a number of large drug organizations. Operations Mojave Desert Snow and Dirty Pool in DeSoto and Marshall County  dismantled an organization responsible for distribution of copious amounts of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, and resulted in the convictions of dozens of individuals and multiple forfeitures.

Under Greenlee’s leadership, the Northern District of Mississippi has seen the revival of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which works with federal, state and local law enforcement officials to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply. During his tenure, the district initiated its first HIDTA, High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which has brought more investigative assets to fight illicit drug distribution, which robs so many of their future.

In conjunction with federal, state and local law enforcement officials, the Northern District of Mississippi has successfully implemented two Project Safe Neighborhoods, one in Clarksdale and one in Greenville, serving to significantly reduce by over 50 percent the presence of gun violence in those communities, while providing education and training on ways to prevent future instances of gun violence.

The Clarksdale Safe Neighborhoods earned two national awards for its efforts in addressing and reducing gun violence and gang activity.

Similarly, with the leadership of state and local officials, Greenlee and his staff have implemented and completed three Weed & Seed Initiatives, a five-year program which aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in targeted high-crime neighborhoods by weeding out the criminal element and bringing in community development services and neighborhood revitalization. These initiatives proved successful in the Haven Acres neighborhood of Tupelo from 2000-2005, the South Corinth neighborhood in Corinth from 2005-2009, and the Washington County initiative from 2005-2009.

Over the eight-year span of Greenlee’s service, the Civil Division, Financial Litigation Unit, collected over $20,000,000 in criminal fines and restitutions and civil debts. Included in that is a recently-obtained $1.375 million settlement on behalf of the United States against Harborside Healthcare and HHC Nutrition Services. In addition, Greenlee oversaw an Asset Forfeiture Unit that forfeited more than $7.7 million worth of property used to facilitate crimes.

The civil division has successfully represented the United States and its employees in lawsuits and has been recognized for its acumen in such litigation.

Greenlee added: “I would be remiss in not acknowledging the outstanding work of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners and the unyielding cooperation they have provided to this office during my tenure. Without them, these important investigations and prosecutions could not have been accomplished.”

Greenlee worked on the national level, serving on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee immediately following September 11. He has also served as Chair of the Military Issues Working Group, Chair of the Security Working Group, as well as a member of the Terrorism & National Security Subcommittee, the Controlled Substances Subcommittee, the White Collar Crime Subcommittee and the Office of Management & Budget Subcommittee of United States Attorneys.

The United States Attorney’s Office for Northern District of Mississippi, located in Oxford, serves a district of 37 Mississippi counties. The office employs 19 Assistant United States Attorneys and 26 support staff.