In this complex, globalized, post 9/11 world, our operational partnerships have never been more important to our efforts to protect your communities.
Today, we work with colleagues at every level of government—local, state, federal, even international—across the law enforcement, intelligence, and first responder communities. We lead and take part in multi-agency task forces, intelligence groups and fusion centers, and public and private sector alliances. A number of our partners literally sit shoulder-to-shoulder with us in FBI space, just as we share our agents and analysts with other agencies. We work closely on joint investigations—sometimes taking the lead, sometimes taking a back seat to others, sometimes contributing equally among many agencies.
In Houston, our major partnerships include:
- The Houston Police Department;
- The Harris County Sheriff’s Office;
- The Texas Department of Public Safety;
- The U.S. Army Counterintelligence Field Activity;
- The Texas National Guard (Army and Air Force); and
- To battle cyber crime, we have a number of key partnerships:
- Our Houston Area Cyber Crime Task Force brings together local, state, and federal experts to combat computer intrusions, viruses, and other cyber threats.
- The Houston InfraGard Chapter is the local arm of a national information-sharing alliance between private industry, academia, and government focused on protecting critical national infrastructures in both the online and offline worlds.
- The Mortgage Fraud Task Force was established in May 2006, bringing together 14 agencies to detect, investigate, and prevent mortgage fraud in the Houston area. The task force specifically works to educate consumers and industry professionals and to initiate a comprehensive law enforcement effort against mortgage fraud. The agencies on the task force include the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Harris County District Attorney, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustees Office, the Texas Real Estate Commission, the Harris County Fire Marshal, the Texas Appraisal Licensing Certification Board, the Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Harris County Appraisal District, and the Houston Police Department. Regular meetings are held and information is shared seamlessly with the participating entities.
- To coordinate and implement a comprehensive investigative strategy, the Houston Public Corruption squad has established partnerships with the Offices of the Inspector General in the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the CIA, and NASA. We also work closely with the Public Integrity Section in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, which oversees the federal effort to combat corruption through the prosecution of elected and appointed public officials at all levels of the government.
- The Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance works in conjunction with law enforcement agencies and social service organizations to locate and liberate individuals trafficked into the U.S. across international borders and held against their will or forced to work for the financial gain of others. The task force consists of FBI special agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents, officers from the Houston Police Department, deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, and members of other state and federal law enforcement agencies.
- The Houston Innocence Lost Task Force was originally formed as an informal working group composed of FBI agents and officers from the Houston Police Department Vice Division to investigate domestic human trafficking. A formal task force was created in 2007 and added deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s Department. The HILTF proactively locates and rescues U.S. children who are trafficked throughout the country for purposes of commercialized sex.
- The Houston Asian Organized Crime Task Force brings together representatives of the FBI and the Houston Police Department to address the burgeoning Asian organized crime problem in the Houston metropolitan area, which has significant South Asian and Vietnamese populations. Our cases involve not only drug trafficking, but also bribery, alien smuggling, money laundering, and murder for hire. The ultimate goal of the task force is to disrupt and dismantle the most significant Asian crime enterprises.
- We also lead or take part in several major partnerships targeting violent crime and major thefts:
- The Major Theft Task Force works to identify and conduct prioritized investigations of major theft criminal enterprises operating within or through the greater Houston metropolitan area, optimizing the effectiveness and efficiency of federal, state, and local law enforcement resources. Through coordinated investigations, the task force pursues prosecutions that will most effectively disrupt and eventually dismantle major theft groups.
- The Multi-Agency Gang Task Force identifies and targets for prosecution the leaders and members of violent street gangs operating in the greater Houston metropolitan area. These gangs commit a vast array of criminal activity, such as drug trafficking, money laundering, alien smuggling, murder, robbery/aggravated assault, and car jacking.
- The Houston Violent Crime Task Force conducts prioritized investigations of bank robberies, focusing on the most violent acts as well as those indicative of a pattern of criminal offenses (e.g., serial robberies); aggressively investigates crimes against children and crimes aboard aircraft or at sea; locates and apprehends major violent fugitives; and investigates criminality at federal penal institutions within the division’s territory .