'It's a horrific event': FBI targets violent carjackers, issues tougher sentences

Posted at 7:23 PM, Nov 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-10 19:23:23-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Hundreds of carjacking incidents across metro Detroit are the focus of a task force made up of FBI, Detroit police and U.S. Attorneys.

They’re pursuing tougher sentences on those who commit severe crimes and warning other criminals about the consequences.

“My step son was murdered in 2016. Senseless gun violence.” Detroiter Will Gholston told 7 Action News.

His experience with a family member wasn’t the only one.

“One of my former bosses was carjacked.” Gholston adds.

The FBI told us as a result of the danger that comes with these violent acts, an effort is underway to charge these crimes federally resulting in 10 to 20, and sometimes more than 30 years, in prison. Recently, some of these cases have made headlines.

“You are surprised and startled violently by a gun in your face and pulled out of your car. It’s a horrific event. Many times there are children in the car. That has an everlasting event on those children,” says FBI Special Agent in Charge James A. Tarasca, who came to Detroit to lead the operations of the FBI in Michigan.

The FBI says drivers on the road have every reason to be troubled by nearly 300 carjackings in the Detroit area this year. Even more concerning is a growing number of those have been committed by people underage.

“There’s generally a weapon involved, violence. That escalates the penalties significantly,” Tarasca said.

He says he hopes the penalties serve to be a deterrent against violent crime.

“It’s up to us not only to prosecute and get a conviction but also to advertise that,” Tarasca added.