The Criminal Division of Montana’s United States Attorney’s office consists of 17 Assistant United States Attorneys: 5 in the Helena office, 5 in the Billings office, 3 in the Great Falls office and 4 in the Missoula office. These federal prosecutors are responsible for enforcing the entire array of federal crimes, including white collar fraud, drug trafficking, child pornography, environmental crime, firearms violations and violent crime in Indian Country. The criminal division is supervised by a Criminal Chief AUSA and two Deputy Criminal Chief AUSAs. To promote the development of expertise and collaboration, the division is organized into four Units, the Indian Country Unit, the National Priority Unit, the Organized Crime/Drug Unit and the Economic Crime Unit. Each Unit has a chief who provides guidance and regularly organizes Unit meetings to discuss issues relevant to the Unit’s casework.
Organized Crime Drug Unit
The Organized Crime Drug Unit handles cases ranging from anti-terrorism investigations and breaches of national security to prosecutions of large scale sophisticated drug trafficking organizations. Currently there are two attorneys who specialize in anti-terrorism cases and three attorneys who specialize in narcotics related cases assigned to the unit. Overall the unit seeks to investigate and prosecute long-term and complex cases by using various investigative tools including search warrants, extensive grand jury presentations, and electronic surveillance.
Economic Crime Unit
The Economic Crimes Unit (ECU) is responsible for prosecuting a wide variety of economic and government program fraud cases throughout the state of Montana. Private sector crimes prosecuted by the ECU include wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud, Ponzi schemes, corporate fraud, health care fraud and criminal conspiracies. The ECU also prosecutes government program fraud that includes theft and embezzlement from various federal agencies and programs.
The primary mission of the ECU is to protect Montana investors, consumers, businesses, financial institutions, federal agency programs and the general economy from fraud. To accomplish this goal, the ECU aggressively prosecutes major frauds throughout the state that have a federal interest. The ECU works closely with the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, IRS and other agency partners to achieve these goals, as well as the Financial Litigation Unit in order to identify assets and maximize potential restitution to victims of fraud.
National Priorities Unit
The National Priorities Unit is comprised of three Assistant U.S. Attorneys and two Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys assigned to the Project Safe Childhood and Project Safe Neighborhoods initiatives.
Project Safe Childhood is a Department of Justice initiative that aims to combat technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children. Two AUSAs are assigned full-time to the PSC initiative. The PSC attorneys prosecute individuals who commit offenses involving child pornography, online enticement, child sex tourism, and commercial sexual exploitation. The PSC AUSAs also participate in community outreach projects, educating the general public about the dangers sexual predators pose on the Internet and other cyber-issues facing our children today.
Project Safe Neighborhoods is a Department of Justice initiative designed to reduce firearm crimes by removing dang erous and persistent felons from the community and promote firearm safety. One AUSA and the two SAUSAs work on the PSN initiative. The PSN attorneys prosecute a variety of federal firearms violations listed in Titles 18 and 26 of the United States Code, including illegal possession of firearms and commission of crimes with firearms.
Indian Country Unit
The Indian Country Unit is comprised of six AUSAs and is responsible for fulfilling one of the Department’s top priorities – the improvement of public safety in Indian Country. To that end, the unit focuses on timely, effective prosecutions and liaison work that includes bi-weekly meetings with the tribal prosecutor and law enforcement, and monthly attendance at MDT meetings. In addition , the liaison work done by our tribal liaison is broader than the liaison work of the AUSAs assigned to specific reservations, and encompasses local and national concerns and initiatives.