FBI Buffalo Field Office
The Buffalo Field Office is responsible for the Western New York region. Its jurisdiction is the same as that of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York: the 17 New York counties of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates.
The FBI Buffalo Field Office was opened prior to 1925 to handle investigations that took place in western New York. The first special agent in charge of the Field Office was M.F. Blackmon. The division was closed in 1929, but the FBI maintained a presence in Buffalo through a resident agency out of FBI New York (similarity as to what FBI Buffalo currently does in Rochester).
The Field Office was re-opened in 1934 and has been in operation ever since. The current Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office is James H. Robertson who has served in the capacity since August 2009.
- Violent Crime Program: Composed of agents and officers of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), New York State Division of Parole, New York State Police, and Buffalo Police Department. They are tasked with handling federal violent crime in the region, including kidnappings, extortion, fugitives, bank robberies, and major thefts of interstate shipments. They additionally aim to "disrupt and dismantle" gang activity, and during December 2009 the Violent Crime Program and Criminal Enterprises Squad's multi year investigation into drug and gang activity on Buffalo's East Side led to the arrests of two dozen individuals, seizure of seven firearms, four motor vehicles, more than $50,000 in cash and drugs.
- Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF): Formed after the September 11, 2001 attacks, its mission is to "prevent, detect, deter, and investigate" terrorist activity. The JTTF also investigates criminal activities related to terrorism, including the acquisition and garnishment of funds, weapons, explosives, and forged identity documents. The JTTF is composed of investigative personnel from over 20 federal, state and local law enforcement and Intelligence Community agencies throughout the Western New York area.
- Health Care Task Force: The Health Care Task Force is charged with investigating federal health care violations. The Health Care Task Force is made up of agencies that are from the FBI, IRS, Department of Health and Human Services, Postal Inspection Service, Food and Drug Administration, Office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, and Department of Defense. The Task Force works closely with private insurers and many state and local law enforcement agencies to combat health care fraud.
The Buffalo Field Office has one specific suspects wanted:
- Jaber A. Elbaneh: on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list, Elbaneh is charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization and conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization in connection to the so-called "Buffalo Six" al-Qaeda cell. Elbaneh was captured in Yemen on May 20, 2007 and has since been jailed there, but he is still listed as wanted by the FBI.
Office of Public Affairs
The Office of Public Affairs (OPA) is the public relations office of the Buffalo Field Office. It is charged with "[e]nhancing and maintaining public trust and confidence in the Federal Bureau of Investigation by widely sharing information externally about the FBI's mission, accomplishments, operations and values." The Office uses speeches, reports, public tours, correspondence, the Internet, and community outreach activities in its work. It also works with authors, television and film producers and other interested parties who seek to depict the FBI in their productions.
The Buffalo FBI Field Office currently runs 15 different programs, all with different tasks and mandates.
- Counter Terrorism: Deals with counterterrorism, including criminal investigations and intelligence on both regarding domestic and international terrorism. All investigations are supported by the Domestic Terrorism Operations Unit at FBI headquarters.
- Field Intelligence Group (FIG): Aims to "optimally position the FBI to meet current and emerging national security and criminal threats" by "creating and sustaining enterprise-wide intelligence solutions and human and technical capabilities, and providing useful, appropriate, and timely information and analysis to the FBI, homeland security, and law enforcement communities." The FIG also is deployed with the ERT if the situation warrants.
- Buffalo Cyber Crime Taskforce: Deals with cybercrime, including cyber-terrorism, crimes against children, distribution of child pornography, malicious hacking, Internet fraud, theft of trade secrets, copyright infringement (piracy), denial-of-service attacks, and malicious computer programs (viruses, Trojans, worms). Additionally, the task force is charged with supporting investigations of traditional crimes using technical means.
- Criminal Enterprises Squad: Deals with criminal enterprise and organized crime, including violent crime, drug trafficking, kidnappings, extortion, fugitives, bank robberies, and major thefts of interstate shipments. Investigations that are handled by the Criminal Enterprises Squad are generally done in unison with local law enforcement authorities as well with the Field Intelligence Group. FIG assists in identifying the major criminal organizations operating in Western New York. The majority of these investigations are complex, long-term, multi-jurisdictional cases which involve the entire spectrum of criminal activity. In December 2009, the Criminal Enterprises Squad's multi year investigation into drug and gang activity on Buffalo's East Side concluded with the arrests of two dozen individuals, the seizure of seven firearms, four motor vehicles, more than $50,000 in cash and drugs.
- Organized Crime Program: Deals with both "traditional" and "non-traditional" organized crime organizations, including murder, arson, loan sharking, extortion, bribery, illegal gambling, and illegal possession of stolen interstate property. Specific groups of interest are La Costra Nostra (the Mafia) and newer organized crime groups, many from Asia. The Organized Crime Program also investigates trade unions that the FBI suspects of engaging in illegal activities. Agents assigned to the Organized Crime Program use a wide range of investigative techniques but emphasize the use of informants and gathering of evidence through court-authorized electronic surveillance and undercover operations.
- Drug Program: Aims to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking organizations operating in Western New York in accordance with the FBI National Drug Strategy. It conducts anti-drug work in unison with the investigative efforts with other federal state and local law enforcement agencies The majority of these investigations are conducted through the FBI's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The agents assigned to these matters emphasize the use of informants, and the extensive use of court-authorized electronic surveillance. The drug program has also led the investigation into Dr. Anthony Galea, who is accused of allegedly providing elite athletes with performance-enhancing drugs to athletes such as Tiger Woods, Huston Street, and Alex Rodriguez. Additionally, many investigations are connected to public corruption, money laundering and white-collar crime activities.
- Fugitive Arrest Program: The FBI is the primary federal law enforcement agency with statutory authority to investigate fugitive matters where the fugitive is wanted on state charges and has crossed state lines.
- White Collar Crime Program: The largest program of the Buffalo Field Office and also a top national FBI concern, with over 25% of the FBI operations centered on white-collar crime. Priorities in order are public corruption, corporate fraud, securities and commodity frauds, health care fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, insurance fraud, and other fraud matters, including telemarketing and wire fraud, government program fraud, bankruptcy fraud, environmental crimes and antitrust matters.
- Public Corruption: According to the FBI, public corruption is the top priority of the bureau and the Buffalo Field Office. Specific public corruption and bribery crimes investigated include contract and procurement fraud and law enforcement corruption, and bribe to avoid filing criminal charges. Because of the sensitivity of public corruption investigations, an investigation can only be opened by authority of the Special Agent in Charge and only after coordination with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
- Corporate Fraud and Securities and Commodities Fraud: Formed after the Enron scandal to address frauds that affect the United States' financial sector and to prosecute Security and investment fraud matters, also the program is designed to prosecute insider frauds brought by charging executives who used accounting frauds to "cook the books" to meet earnings expectations.
- Health Care Fraud: Deals with heal care fraud through multi-agency coordination with the IRS, FDA, Postal Inspection Service, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, and Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General.
- Financial Institution Fraud: aims to "identify, target, disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations and individual operations engaged in fraud schemes which target the United States' financial institutions," particularly in the area of check fraud, mortgage fraud, and identity theft. Additionally seeks to "identify, undertake and promote prevention measures, where available, to reduce the opportunity for fraud to take place."
- Money Laundering: deals with money laundering and target subjects who use various schemes to attempt to legitimize the proceeds of unlawful activities.
- Awareness of National Security Issues and Response (ANSIR): Buffalo, like all FBI field offices, has an ANSIR program, which aims to "provide information to those who are the targets" of "theft of U.S. technology and sensitive economic information by foreign intelligence services and competitors." It gives "unclassified national security threat and warning information to U.S. corporate security directors and executives as well as other law enforcement and government agencies on a regular basis.
- Other Frauds: Investigates a host of other fraud matters, including insurance frauds, telemarketing, mail and wire fraud, government program fraud, bankruptcy fraud, environmental crimes and antitrust matters.
The Buffalo Field Office maintains two specific Specialty Programs.
- FBI Special Weapons and Tactics Team: Like each of the FBI Field Offices, the Buffalo Field Office maintains a SWAT team, which aims to "employ specialized capabilities, weapons and tactics to conduct high-risk arrests, specialized entries and security operations in support of Bureau, Division and case specific missions". The team organized into six core elements: Command, Assault, Sniper, Medical, Communications, and Negotiations. Members of the team are selected from among top officers at the Buffalo Field Office. Each must pass a tryout focusing on physical fitness, firearms skills, decision-making under stressful conditions, and ability to function well in a team environment. New members of the team (termed operatives) are placed on a probationary status until specific criteria are met and they become full members of the team. Weapons used are standard across all FBI SWAT teams and include the MP-5/10 submachine gun, the M4 Carbine assault rifle, the Glock 22 semi-automatic pistol (.40 S&W caliber), and a variety of other weapons.
- Evidence Response Teams (ERTs): The Buffalo Field Office has three Evidence Response Teams composed of Special Agents and Professional Support Employees. Each of the three teams is made of eight members each member of an ERT team is specially trained in crime scene management and investigation and in evidence collection and processing. Each of team is tasked with conducting crime scene investigations, performing specialized searches of crime scenes, and acting as a liaison between the Buffalo Field Office and the FBI Laboratory. The ERT is generally only deployed for crimes that fall under federal jurisdiction but does assist local law enforcement agencies for state and local crimes when requested.
Rochester Resident Agency
The Rochester Resident Agency is responsible for all FBI investigative programs in the nine easternmost counties of the Field Office's territory (about 5,300 square miles (14,000 km2) with an estimated 1.25 million residents). It is based in Rochester with a satellite office in Elmira and is staffed by 28 special agents and eight professional staff organized into two squads.
The territory covered by the Resident Agency includes 75 miles (121 km) of Lake Ontario shoreline and ranges from industrial areas of downtown Rochester to large agricultural areas in outlying counties. The area is bisected from north to south by the Genesee River and from east to west by the Erie Canal and the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90). Rochester is home to several large companies, including Eastman Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, and Xerox.
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- "Office Of Public Affairs (OPA)". FBI Buffalo Field Office. Archived from the original on 2008-07-09. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
- "Investigative Programs". FBI Buffalo Field Office. Archived from the original on 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
- "FBI, State and Local Authorities Arrest Four on Child Pornography Charges". US Newswire. June 1, 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
- . Pignataro, T.J (September 29, 2006). "12 men face federal child porn charges". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
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- Pignataro, T. J. (December 17, 2009). "Three get prison terms for child porn". Buffalo, New York: Buffalo News. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
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- Van Natta Jr, Don; Schmidt, Michael S.; Austen, Ian (December 15, 2009). "Doctor Who Treated Top Athletes Is Subject of Doping Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved December 15, 2009.
- Rumberg, Howie (March 11, 2010). "A-Rod: Lawyers are setting up interview with feds". Associated Press. Retrieved 18 March 2010.[dead link]
- "Former Rochester man in court today after Los Angeles arrest for scheme which promised to deliver celebrities for cash". FBI Los Angeles Field Office. July 26, 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
- "Specialty Programs". FBI Buffalo Field Office. Archived from the original on 2008-05-24. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
- "Rochester RA". Buffalo FBI Field Office and Rochester Resident Agency. Archived from the original on 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "The FBI Buffalo Field Office Official Website".
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