Kent Police to join new Western Washington Carjacking Task Force

U.S. Department of Justice announces Seattle, Kent police departments as partners to reduce crime

A screenshot of the King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian One helicopter view of the arrest of a Kent man after carjacking incidents Feb. 13 in Kent. COURTESY IMAGE, King County Sheriff’s Office

A screenshot of the King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian One helicopter view of the arrest of a Kent man after carjacking incidents Feb. 13 in Kent. COURTESY IMAGE, King County Sheriff’s Office

Kent Police will be one of the primary partners in a new Western Washington Carjacking Task Force formed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman announced Thursday, April 18 that the Seattle-based Western District of Washington is one of seven districts across the nation that are adding a carjacking task force to focus efforts and resources on this important public safety threat.

“Our task force harnesses the resources of the FBI, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), the Seattle Police and Kent Police Departments,” Gorman said. “Prosecutors will look at all carjacking incidents in the district to see if federal prosecution is appropriate. Where adults are using juveniles to commit these crimes, we will explore significant federal penalties to hold the adults accountable.”

Emily Langlie, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, responded to a Kent Reporter email about why the Seattle and Kent police departments were chosen to be a key part of the task force.

“Both Seattle and Kent have been good partners who have seen an uptick in this type of crime,” Langlie said. “We actually have a carjacking case involving those jurisdictions being prosecuted federally right now.”

A 23-year-old Seattle man faces a seven-count federal indictment for multiple crimes on Nov. 7, 2022 that stretched from Kent to Bellevue and eventually ended in Renton.

Maar Teng Rambang faced the charges Jan. 12, 2023 in U.S. District Court in Seattle, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release. He is charged with three counts of carjacking, three counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence and one count of attempted robbery. He has a trial date in September. Rambang remains in custody at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, according to prison records.

“The Justice Department has no higher priority than keeping our communities safe,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “We do so by targeting the most significant drivers of violent crime and by acting as a force multiplier for our state and local law enforcement partners. We’re seeing results — with violent crime declining broadly nationwide.

“Today (April 18), we are launching seven new carjacking task forces across the country to build on the success of task forces in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Tampa, where available data shows that carjacking rates are now falling. When prosecutors, officers, agents, and analysts come together to crunch data, share intelligence, and apply best practices, we can make real progress in the fight against all forms of violent crime, including carjacking.”

Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office, said addressing violent crime is a task that takes teamwork.

“I am proud to join with our law enforcement partners in the Seattle area to protect the communities we all call home,” Collodi said.

In keeping with the department’s Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime, the task forces represent a strategic enforcement priority for the department, focusing federal resources on identifying, investigating and prosecuting the most significant drivers of violent crime, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Building on the initial efforts of and best practices learned from carjacking task forces in the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the District of Columbia, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Middle District of Florida, the following offices in six other districts, besides Western Washington, also announced the creation of carjacking task forces:

District of Oregon, Eastern District of Texas, Northern District of Alabama, Northern District of California,

Eastern District of Louisiana and Southern District of Mississippi.

Carjacking and other violent crime task forces have proven to be an effective part of successful violent crime reduction strategies by focusing on significant crime drivers and taking violent offenders off the streets of our communities, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. For example, carjackings in Philadelphia declined by 31% from 2022 to 2023, and armed carjackings are down 28% in the District of Columbia this year to date compared to the same period in 2023. In Chicago, carjackings decreased 29% from the high in 2021 through the end of 2023.

At an initial kickoff meeting, the task force members will come together to outline how they will share and act promptly on information related to car thefts, carjackings and the recovery of stolen or suspect vehicles. The task forces will also collaborate on how to use federal sentencing enhancements for cases where adults use juveniles to commit carjackings, as well as working with state and local authorities to ensure the appropriate handling of juvenile suspects.

The task forces will also assist state and local officials who wish to seek Justice Department grant funding for juvenile intervention and diversion resources.

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