The primary responsibility of the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office is the prosecution of federal crimes in the District. Many of the offenses prosecuted by the Criminal Division arise on the District’s Indian reservations and other 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. The office works closely with tribal prosecutors to coordinate the prosecution of offenses arising in Indian country.
The other crimes prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys assigned to the Criminal Division cover a wide range of criminal activities, including drug trafficking, firearms violations, corporate and financial institution fraud, bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, healthcare fraud, computer fraud, agricultural program fraud, public corruption, terrorism, child pornography, environmental crimes, civil rights violations, federal wildlife violations, and any of the more than 900 federal offenses that have been created by Congress.
Nineteen attorneys are assigned to the Criminal Division. This includes two office supervisors and the Criminal Chief. Within the Division, one attorney is assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) to handle major drug trafficking prosecutions. One attorney in the Division serves as the District’s anti-terrorism coordinator. One attorney and one auditor are assigned to healthcare fraud investigations. The District’s asset forfeiture attorney is also assigned to the Division.
Attorneys from the Division are active in the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative, Project Safe Childhood (PSC), and Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Project. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide program designed to reduce firearm crimes and promote firearm safety. Project Safe Childhood is a Department of Justice initiative that aims to combat technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children. The Midwest HIDTA provides resources to state and local law enforcement agencies who participate with federal authorities in multi-jurisdictional task forces dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of drug trafficking organizations.
John Haak, Chief, Criminal Division, US Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota