The Criminal Division
The office’s criminal division enforces federal criminal laws in the District of Idaho. The division includes prosecutors in the Boise main office, and in the Pocatello and Coeur d'Alene branch offices. The federal prosecutors who comprise the division bring a wealth of legal experience at all levels.
The criminal division’s work is guided by the following four Department of Justice priorities established by the United States Attorney General: (1) protecting Americans from national security threats; (2) protecting Americans from violent crime; (3) protecting Americans from financial and healthcare fraud; and (4) protecting the most vulnerable members of our society. In connection with those national priorities, the U.S. Attorney's Office established the following local criminal priorities to focus its prosecutor resources:
Crimes in Indian Country
Crimes Against Children
Drug Trafficking, and the "Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF)"
Federal Lands and the Environment
Gun and Gang Violence in Idaho, called "Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN)"
The office recognizes that strong deterrence helps prevent individuals and entities from defrauding Americans and weakening this country’s institutions and economy. The U.S. Attorney’s Office aggressively pursues fraud investigations that have a federal nexus, focusing on bankruptcy, corporate, financial institution, healthcare and benefits fraud. Federal prosecutors work closely with investigators at all levels to ensure that those who use a pen to commit a crime face stiff penalties just as surely as those who use a gun. Prosecutors place particular emphasis on obtaining restitution, or repayment, for victims.
Identity theft is another form of fraud and is one of the most prevalent crimes in America. Typically, the perpetrator assumes the good name and credit of a victim in order to steal money, property and services from other unsuspecting victims. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has taken an aggressive approach to prosecuting identity theft, using federal laws that impose substantial penalties for such crimes.
Crimes on Tribal Lands
Idaho has five tribal reservations within its borders: the Shoshone-Bannock tribes in eastern Idaho; the Shoshone-Paiute tribes on the Idaho-Nevada border; the Nez Perce tribe in north central Idaho; and the Coeur d'Alene and Kootenai tribes in the panhandle. The U.S. Attorney’s Office works with federal and tribal investigators to prosecute violent crime, thefts and drug trafficking occurring on these lands.
Preventing terrorist attacks remains the Department of Justice’s top priority. The U.S. Attorney’s Office takes every step to ensure Americans are protected from terrorists. The office has one prosecutor dedicated to handling terrorism investigations and prosecutions. Other federal prosecutors stand ready to handle any terrorism prosecution, should the need arise. The office leads Idaho’s "Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC)" comprised of representatives from federal, state and local law enforcement and security agencies. The Idaho ATAC coordinates anti-terrorism initiatives, initiates training programs and facilitates information sharing.
Ensuring that every American’s constitutional rights are protected is a top priority for the Department of Justice. The U.S. Attorney’s Office works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute hate crimes, official misconduct, damage to religious property, interference with access to reproductive health services, interference with housing rights and human trafficking.
Crimes Against Children
The U.S. Attorney's Office gets involved when children are victimized on tribal lands, when the abuser crosses state lines, or when the crime involves child pornography sent through the mail or via the internet. The office works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute international and national child pornography rings, focusing on offenders who produce or distribute child pornography.
Drug Trafficking, OCDETF and HIDTA
The U.S. Attorney's Office plays an important role in reducing drug trafficking and related violence by identifying, disrupting and dismantling regional, national and international drug trafficking organizations. Federal prosecutors work closely with the DEA-led Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) to investigate and prosecute the leaders and organizers of regional, national and international drug networks. Through the Treasure Valley’s High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiative, the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office sponsors a federally deputized deputy prosecutor to focus on prosecuting in federal court lower-level drug traffickers in Idaho. The office focuses prosecutions on opioid distribution, methamphetamine trafficking, prescription drug diversion and trafficking, death resulting from drug distribution, and emerging drug threats in Idaho.
Sixty-two percent of Idaho is federal land. The U.S. Attorney’s Office works hand-in-hand with federal land management agencies to protect Idaho’s public lands from criminal activity. The office handles misdemeanor citations, commonly called “CVBs,” issued by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other federal agencies. The office also prosecutes offenders who (1) damage or, without permission, take resources from public lands; (2) unlawfully take, or “poach” protected wildlife; and (3) commit environmental crimes.
Gun and Gang Violent Crime: Idaho's Project Safe Neighborhoods Program
The office’s "Project Safe Neighborhoods" (PSN) program seeks to reduce gun violence in Idaho by targeting violent offenders who carry or use guns to commit crimes. PSN’s effectiveness is based on the ability of federal, state and local agencies to cooperate in a unified offensive. Federal and county prosecutors across the state regularly communicate about gun crimes, working together to select the appropriate jurisdiction to prosecute gun crimes. PSN prosecutions send a clear message to anyone who illegally uses or possesses a gun that "gun crime means hard time" in the District of Idaho.
PSN’s key component is its focus on violent gang members, organizations and other violent offenders. To optimize federal prosecution of these violent persons and groups, the U.S. Attorney’s Office partners with state and local leaders, prosecutors and law enforcement to ensure worthy cases are prosecuted in federal court. This partnership includes housing in the office two federally deputized county prosecutors, one in the Treasure Valley and one in east Idaho, devoted to working with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute violent offenders, gang members and organizations. In the Treasure Valley, the Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office sponsors a deputy prosecutor resourced to support federal prosecutions brought by the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crimes Task Force. In east Idaho, the Bannock County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office similarly sponsors a deputy prosecutor to handle firearms, drugs and other violent offenses in federal court. In north Idaho, federal prosecutors support the North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force in seeking out and prosecuting violent offenders. Together, these efforts have helped reduce violent crime.
The U.S. Attorney's Office prosecutes immigration crimes, focusing its efforts on fraud and illegal re-entry cases. Immigration fraud takes on many forms, including marriage, passport and “notario” fraud, as well as identity theft. The office also prosecutes criminal aliens in Idaho who have illegally re-entered the United States without permission after having been ordered removed by an immigration judge.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office houses the Asset Forfeiture Unit to assist federal prosecutors in recovering the proceeds of crime. Federal laws require that people convicted of crimes such as drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud or terrorism must forfeit both their profits and the equipment they used to commit the crimes. By divesting convicted criminals of the profits of their crimes, as well as the instrumentalities used to commit their crimes, the office seeks to make crime unprofitable. Forfeited assets can be used to help fund federal, state and local law enforcement activities, and to repay the victims of crime.