Thank you, Jessie, for that introduction. I am grateful to you and your team here at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., for all of the vital work that you do in support of the Department’s mission.
To our colleagues and law enforcement partners here today, thank you for joining us for these important announcements about the Department’s fight against transnational organized crime.
Looking around this room, I see many people I know from our years working together, investigating and prosecuting crimes. We are all fortunate to have one of the most rewarding legal jobs: The pursuit of justice. You do it every day. You do it professionally, with humility, and often without much recognition.
The public may not know you, but they see the fruits of your hard work. Neighborhoods and communities made safer. Wrongs made right. Victims made whole.
The job of serving as a prosecutor has become more complex since I started in this business 28 years ago. It is more challenging. The threats do not just come from our own cities. They also come from foreign nations, thousands of miles away.
Transnational Criminal Organizations — whether they are gangs, drug trafficking cartels, or terrorist groups — are a scourge. They sow violence and sell poisonous drugs. They bribe public officials and fuel corruption. They terrorize law-abiding citizens.
And they are increasingly smart about how they commit their crimes. They use the financial system and modern technology —cell phones, social media, encryption, and other tools — in support of their illicit activities.
We sometimes refer to transnational criminal organizations as TCOs. TCOs operate on multiple fronts.
And so must we.
We need to use every tool in the government’s arsenal to combat them. Investigations, prosecutions, financial penalties, sanctions, and collaboration with foreign partners.
We need to strike at TCOs wherever they are, and with whatever means are at our disposal. Dismantle their command and control structure. Recover ill-gotten gains. Cut them off from opportunities to commit crimes.
As we redouble our efforts and target more TCOs, they will feel the full weight of the U.S. government and its partners.
We are here to announce what is just the beginning of a multi-front campaign against TCOs.
I am joined here by two people who will be integral to the Department’s efforts. First, Adam Cohen. Adam serves as Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, our nationwide program to fight drug trafficking. An experienced narcotics and gang prosecutor, Adam most recently served as Chief of the Special Operations Unit of the Office of Enforcement Operations in the Criminal Division. Adam also led the National Gang Targeting Enforcement and Coordination Center and served as a Deputy Chief of the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section. His wealth of experience will serve the Department’s mission well.
We are also joined today by Patrick Hovakimian, a federal prosecutor who investigates and prosecutes transnational public corruption and fraud. Patrick joined us last year in Main Justice, where he now serves as an Associate Deputy Attorney General. In that capacity, Patrick also will serve as the Department’s first Director of Counter-Transnational Organized Crime. Patrick is working with the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to build a whole-of-government initiative to dismantle TCOs.
Everyone in the law enforcement community should know that you have the full support of the Attorney’s General and the Department of Justice. We know that the long days and nights you spend make a difference. They matter to us and to the people of the United States. And you will continue to have our full support
Now it is my distinct honor to introduce a man who has dedicated his distinguished career to upholding the rule of law. Before becoming Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, United States Attorney, state Attorney General, and United States Senator. He is a public servant of the highest order. He is not here just to carry on business as usual. He is here to deliver on President Trump’s commitment to make America safe. We at the Department are fortunate for his leadership and for the example that he sets every day. So please welcome the 84th Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions.