Seattle – The Northwest Safe Trails Task Force, made up of the FBI and five western Washington Tribes, will receive $888,748 from DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to enhance efforts to battle violent crime and drug crime in tribal communities, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. The funding, delivered over five years, will pay for an additional federal prosecutor who can review and file cases in either tribal or federal court.
“I congratulate the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community for their successful application for this grant funding. Working to make our tribal communities safer is a key priority for the Department of Justice,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman. “Having an additional prosecutor working with the Swinomish, Tulalip, Lummi, Nooksack, and Upper Skagit Tribes will improve our ability to assist the Tribes with the prosecutions they identify as key to community safety.”
Swinomish Senator Brian Porter, as Chairman of the Swinomish Law and Order Committee, championed this grant application and sees this grant as key to improving safety within tribal communities. “Partnering with our federal and tribal law enforcement is essential to combating violent and drug related crimes on our tribal lands,” said Senator Porter. “The FBI Pacific Northwest Safe-Trails Task Force has been an ally to Swinomish and our neighboring Tribes as we collaborate to prosecute large drug offenses that have a high community impact. The Safe Trails Special Assistant United States Attorney is a key component in our partnership as they will be able to work directly with our federal and tribal law enforcement to bring cases in federal court. We applaud the efforts and partnership with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington,” said Senator Porter.
The FBI investigates major crimes such as homicide, sexual abuse, major drug trafficking, and felony assaults on tribal land. This will be the second term of a dedicated prosecutor for the Safe Trails Task Force. During the last two-year grant period there were more than eight different federal cases prosecuted involving armed drug dealing in and around tribal communities.
“It takes resources to successfully perform our work.” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “Reducing and investigating violent crime on our state’s reservations is a goal for the FBI and our partners. Securing of this funding and enabling additional personnel to support investigations and prosecutions substantially advances that aim.”
The Special Assistant United States Attorney who is hired to work with the Safe Trails Task Force will join three other tribal liaisons working in the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Washington. The current liaisons are Assistant United States Attorneys J. Tate London, Jocelyn M. Cooney, and Michael Harder.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.