The Criminal Division has primary responsibility for the prosecution of more than 900 federal crimes. Federal crimes are defined by acts of Congress and are distinguished from criminal offenses established by acts of city, county or state legislatures. These latter offenses are prosecuted by, respectively, the City Attorney, the District Attorney or the State Attorney General. Responsibility for the prosecution of federal offenses in this District is assigned to the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney's Office.
The Criminal Division is organized into five units which consist of the General Crimes Section, Major Frauds Section, Narcotics Enforcement Section, Appellate Section, and Financial Litigation Unit. Criminal cases are assigned to a particular section based upon the criminal violation under investigation.
- General Crimes Section
- Major Frauds Section
- Narcotics Enforcement Section
- Appellate Section
- Financial Litigation Unit
The General Crimes Section is headed by a Chief, who supervises the section with the assistance of five Deputy Chiefs. The General Crimes Section includes an Intake Unit (which includes the Grand Jury Unit), three trial teams, and a Counterterrorism Section. The Section is responsible for the prosecution of all borderrelated narcotics violations, borderrelated corruption cases, crimes involving the smuggling of items into the United States (e.g., pharmaceuticals, contraband merchandise) and all violations of the U.S. immigration laws. All federal offenses not investigated or prosecuted by the Narcotics Enforcement and Major Frauds Sections are the responsibility of the General Crimes Section. In addition, the General Crimes Section handles various program fraud investigations (e.g., bankruptcy fraud, social security fraud), as well as investigation of violent crimes and gangrelated crimes. The Section handles all terrorism investigations and prosecutions, as well as prosecutions of illegal firearms violations under "Project Safe Neighborhoods," a Department of Justice priority.
The General Crimes Section also participates with other agencies in a variety of task forces. Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the General Crimes Section serve as liaisons to the Regional Auto Theft Task Force, the Violent Crimes Task Force (Gang Group and Fugitive Group), the Civil Rights Working Group, the Abortion Clinic and Church Arson Task Force, the Hate Crimes Working Group, the Violence Against Women Task Force, and the National Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group.
The wide range of cases prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys in the General Crimes Section includes multimillion dollar bank fraud, bank bribery, multimillion dollar bankruptcy fraud, organized crime, destruction of government property, child pornography, government benefit fraud, postal theft, passport fraud, counterfeiting, cellular telephone fraud, satellite television fraud, credit card fraud, conspiracy to commit murderforhire, distribution of a variety of narcotics (including drug dealing by a physician), criminal contempt of court, Hobbs Act cases (interference with interstate commerce by robbery), crimes committed aboard aircraft, offenses occurring on military reservations, income tax fraud, copyright violations, wire and mail fraud, weapons offenses, civil rights violations, assaults on federal officers, identity theft, computer crimes, and public corruption.
The Major Frauds Section investigates and prosecutes significant white collar crimes and other complex criminal conduct directed toward economic gain. Investigations are conducted by the section=s attorneys working through federal grand juries in coordination with the various law enforcement agencies. Investigations may be long-term, as they frequently require analysis of a large volume of documentary evidence. The resulting prosecutions tend to generate lengthy trials and rely heavily on the presentation of documentary evidence.
The Major Frauds section handles cases concerning corporate fraud, health care fraud, environmental crimes, telemarketing fraud, defense contractor fraud, export violations, tax evasion, official corruption, organized crime, bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, and securities fraud. The legal and factual complexity of many of these areas, and the designation of priority program areas by the United States Attorney have mandated the formation of specialized units within the Major Frauds section, addressing telemarketing, health care, environmental and cyber crimes.
The Narcotics Enforcement Section ("NES") investigates and prosecutes international and domestic narcotics trafficking organizations. The NES works closely with all federal law enforcement agencies tasked with investigating drug offenses, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Marshals Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and the United States Coast Guard. The NES also collaborates with narcotic task forces comprised of federal, state, and local officers to prosecute those individuals whose drug trafficking activities have a major, negative impact on the local communities of San Diego and Imperial Counties.
Money laundering crimes, tax violations, firearms offenses, and official corruption related to drug trafficking are prosecuted as vigorously as the narcotics crimes themselves. NES attorneys begin their work from the earliest stages of the investigation and continue their efforts until the successful completion of the prosecution, either at trial or by way of pretrial resolution. Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, domestic drug producers and distributors, violent street gangs, and outlaw motorcycle gangs have all been prosecuted with great success by the NES. The organizations targeted by the NES are diverse, but similar in that their scope and reach are always significant and deleterious.
The NES is skilled in leading federal grand jury investigations and in using specialized investigative tools such as courtauthorized wiretaps, undercover operations, and search warrants. NES attorneys regularly participate in multidistrict prosecutions, attacking largescale organizations operating in locations throughout the United States and in other countries, often under the auspices of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force ("OCDETF"). OCDETF assists the NES to prioritize national and international targets and to fund the longterm and wideranging investigations that are required to prosecute successfully sophisticated criminal organizations. NES works closely with the Department of Justice Special Operations Division ("SOD"), which coordinates investigations through multiagency cooperation and multidistrict wiretaps. In conjunction with SOD, NES has prosecuted and dismantled polydrug trafficking organizations that move tons of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine through the United States, as well as millions of dollars in drug proceeds out of the country.
The Appellate Section supervises all appellate litigation before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, including the filing of briefs and the presentation of oral arguments. In addition, lawyers for the Appellate Section work with the Department of Justice and the Solicitor General to coordinate such issues as potential government appeals, petitions for rehearing en banc, and U.S. Supreme Court litigation in all cases involving the government in the Southern District.
While the Collection Unit's responsibilities remain separate from the Asset Forfeiture Unit, both are now part of one Financial Litigation Unit (FLU) located within the Criminal Division.
Asset Forfeiture Unit
The Asset Forfeiture Unit has functional responsibility for all forfeiture cases and issues within the office. The unit handles all civil forfeitures and provides advice and substantial assistance to Criminal Division attorneys with forfeiture or potential forfeiture issues in their criminal cases. The unit works on proactive criminal and financial investigations and cases, trains Criminal Division AUSAs and support staff on forfeiture-related matters, handles and/or monitors all ancillary hearing procedures, and provides training to ensure that Criminal Division personnel remain current on asset forfeiture law and trends in order to facilitate the successful resolution of forfeiture matters.
The office has developed a successful practice of closely coordinating the criminal prosecution of an individual or a group with the forfeiture of their assets. The asset forfeiture unit, in consultation with criminal prosecutors, selects the best forfeiture method (civil judicial, criminal judicial, or administrative) for obtaining the criminal proceeds of illegal activity.
The asset forfeiture unit is responsible for traditional asset forfeiture functions, such as the collection and maintenance of statistical and forfeiturerelated information in automated and other records systems, the implementation of Department of Justice policy, the development and implementation of District wide forfeiture policy, and the liaison and coordination with client agencies and Department of Justice entities on all forfeiture matters.
Each year the asset forfeiture unit successfully forfeits millions of dollars in money and property from narcotics traffickers, money launderers, and the perpetrators of fraud.
The Collections Unit is responsible for collecting money in criminal cases resulting from the imposition of fines, restitution orders, and judgments on Criminal appearance bonds when a defendant fails to appear in court or otherwise violates the conditions of bail. In civil cases, the Office collects judgments rendered in favor of the United States. These civil judgments often involve federally insured student loans, tax liabilities and Veterans Administration and Social Security overpayments.
Notice About Fraudulent Spam Email