12 News Exclusive: U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst reflects on career, legacy

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Next Tuesday will be U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst’s last day on the job. His legacy includes fighting corruption, fighting human trafficking and also a controversial immigration raid.

When Hurst leaves the Department of Justice on January 19, he’ll take with him 25 years worth of memories.

“I started in this office as a student clerk when I was in college here at Millsaps in 1996, and then I came back to this office in 2006 as an assistant U.S. attorney, prosecuting public corruption cases, immigration cases, and the like,” he said.

For the last three years, Hurst has been the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. During his time, he’s created a number of crime fighting initiatives. The one he’s most proud of is Operation EJECT.

“We’ve had in Jackson, Meridian, Natchez, Hattiesburg, and now Gulfport and Moss Point. I think it’s done a lot of good to bring violent criminals to justice. It’s bringing crime down in our neighborhoods and frankly making our citizens and communities safer.”

He continued, “I’m also proud about our first-ever statewide Mississippi Human Trafficking Council, which brings together all the entities, whether it be government, nonprofits, or businesses together to try to fight this scourge that is referred to as modern day slavery in our state.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Attorney Hurst launched Operation Pheonecia in honor of a Canton mother who lost her life in a domestic violence situation. This operation focused on making sure domestic abusers don’t own firearms and bringing awareness to federal domestic violence crimes and how to prevent them.

“What we are seeing is an astronomical rise in domestic violence, and those individuals are trapped in their homes and cannot escape their abusers. And what we have seen is if a firearm is within reach of a domestic violence situation, the percentage of murder is 500 percent.”

The Southern District got national attention in August 2019 for the largest ICE raid in U.S. history. It happened during Hurst’s tenure. Four plant managers were indicted, and the case is still ongoing.

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