The primary responsibility of the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office is the prosecution of federal crimes which occur in the District or which occur elsewhere but have a nexus to the District.
The crimes prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys assigned to the Criminal Division cover a wide range of criminal activities, including drug trafficking and other OCDETF cases, firearms violations, corporate and financial institution fraud, bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, healthcare fraud, computer fraud, public corruption, money laundering, terrorism, tax violations, securities fraud, child pornography, immigration offenses, environmental crimes, civil rights violations, federal wildlife violations, and any of the more than 900 federal offenses that have been codified by Congress.
Twenty-four attorneys are assigned to the Criminal Division including three Special Assistant United States Attorneys (SAUSAs) who are detailed, full time, to the USAO from the Buncombe, Iredell and Mecklenburg Counties District Attorney’s offices under a grant funded by the Governor’s Crime Commission. These SAUSAs function as full-time AUSAs and are assigned to drug and violent crime cases. Additionally, the District has a part-time SAUSA from the Cleveland County, NC District Attorney’s Office as well as a SAUSA from the Cherokee Indian Reservation Tribal Prosecutor’s Office. Criminal attorneys are located in both the Charlotte and Asheville offices.
The Criminal Chief, along with two Deputy Criminal Chiefs, supervises the division, which includes all the criminal AUSAs as well as the criminal division support staff, the victim witness unit, and an OCDETF auditor. The Division is also supported by three trial paralegals who are supervised by the administrative division.
Because the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, the largest Indian Reservation east of the Mississippi, is located within the Western District of North Carolina, an AUSA is designated as the Tribal Liaison and is responsible for all prosecutions which occur on Indian lands which constitute Indian country under federal law. By Act of Congress, most serious offenses involving Native Americans which take place in Indian country must be prosecuted in federal court under the Major Crimes Act, the Assimilative Crimes Act, or other federal statutes.