The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1152 and 1153 as well as most other crimes in the Indian country. Frequently, by the time the FBI arrives on the reservation, some investigation will have been undertaken by tribal or Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) police. It is recognized that the ability of the tribal and BIA police can vary from reservation to reservation, and United States Attorneys are free to ask for FBI investigation in all cases where it is felt that this is required. However, United States Attorneys are encouraged and authorized to accept investigative reports directly from tribal or BIA police and prepare a case for prosecution without FBI investigation in all cases where it is felt a sufficient investigation can be undertaken by BIA or tribal law enforcement officers.
The Indian Law Enforcement Reform Act (ILERA), Pub. L. 101-379, August 18, 1990, codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 2801-2809, established within the BIA of the Department of the Interior, a Division of Law Enforcement Services (DLES) to carry out the Secretary's responsibility to provide and assist in the provision of law enforcement services in Indian country. The ILERA directed the Secretary to establish a Branch of Criminal Investigations within the DLES with responsibility for the investigation and presentation for prosecution of violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1152 and 1153, under agreement with the Department of Justice, and subject to guidelines to be adopted by the United States Attorneys. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed by the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Interior. United States Attorneys are free to assign investigative responsibilities in accordance with guidelines previously issued, or which they now care to issue. The ILERA also authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, after consultation with the Attorney General, to promulgate regulations relating to the exercise of this law enforcement authority and relating to the consideration of applications for law enforcement contracts under the Indian Self Determination Act, P.L. 93-638, 25 U.S.C. § 450 et seq.