Fed Playbook Is Adding Hobbs Act to RICO to Fight Organized Crime

Putting a mobster on trial with a nice, juicy RICO -- a big, fat one, going back decades to include murder, gambling, extortion and all the other usual goodies, is the dream of every mob-fighting fed, cop, prosecutor, etc. However, increasingly these days law enforcement has been getting a lot of play out of a law that has been on the books for nearly seven decades, called the Hobbs Act.

Here's a quiz. See if you can pick which is the federal crime.

a) Bank robbery.

b) Kidnapping.

c) Robbing a McDonald's.

Would you believe, d) All of the above?

Officials in Minnesota and across the country are more frequently using the Hobbs Act, a federal law that prohibits the obstruction or delay of commerce, to pursue violent offenders who have robbed bars, coffee shops and even McDonald's restaurants.

The act was passed in 1946 to address organized crime and labor racketeering, said U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones. Now, it has new life in a new way: getting career criminals who commit violent crimes off the streets for a longer time.

"We are not creatively using it. We are aggressively using it," he said."

Read full story: Feds use old law in a new way to snare criminals | StarTribune.com