Home News Stories 2012 June Journey Through Indian Country, Part 1 Special Agent John Fortunato

Special Agent John Fortunato

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John Fortunato
Special Agent
Gallup Resident Agency
Albuquerque FBI

I think every agent that comes out here the first thing they do is drive around, for two reasons: one, to get the lay of the land, and, two, to appreciate all the beauty all around us. This is not something you’re used to seeing coming from the East Coast or West Coast.

On the bottom of every license plate in New Mexico it says Land of Enchantment. And if they’re just talking about the scenery then that statement’s true because it is a beautiful country out here.

When I first got out here I had a very romantic view of working Indian Country and I had my own expectations of what to expect. And a lot of it has lived up to it.

One of the downsides is the type of work that we’re doing we almost invariably just see the bad side. We’re only encountering people that have committed the crime … or aren’t exactly living the best type of life—lifestyle.

So we’re constantly seeing tragedy. We’re constantly seeing loss. We’re constantly seeing people that hurt family members and hurt other people. So it’s a sad side that we have to visit each day. Every time we go out on a case, we know it’s not going to be a pleasant scene. We know it’s not going to be the best of families we’re going to be meeting.

07.01.12

Journey Through Indian Country
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About This Series
Nationwide, the FBI is responsible for investigating the most serious crimes within Indian Country and has investigative responsibilities on about 200 reservations. FBI.gov recently visited New Mexico for a firsthand look at how the Bureau and our partners fight crime on tribal lands.

- Part 1: Fighting Crime on Tribal Lands 
- Part 2: Making an Impact on the Reservation
- Part 3: Murder on the Zuni Reservation 
- Part 4: Teamwork Makes a Difficult Job Easier
- Part 5: A Zero Tolerance Approach
- Part 6: Invaluable Experience on the Reservation

 

The FBI in Indian CountryBy law, the FBI is responsible for investigating the most serious crimes within Indian Country. Nationwide, there are 565 federally recognized Indian tribes. The FBI has investigative responsibilities on about 200 reservations. More than 100 agents in 19 of the Bureau’s 56 field offices work Indian Country matters full time, and we’ve represented federal law enforcement on tribal lands since the 1920s.
View large map

 

New Mexico highway (play video)
“The work that’s being done out there, it’s truly front-line. It’s also relying on your own resources, your own wits, to get the job done, because you don’t have a lot of backup.” 
— Carol K.O. Lee, Special Agent in Charge, Albuquerque FBI

In Their Own Words
FBI officials and our law enforcement partners discuss the unique challenges of working and living in New Mexico’s Indian Country.
Lee videoGonzales videoHarrigan video
Special Agent in Charge, Albuquerque Division
  U.S. Attorney, District of New Mexico   Special Agent, Farmington Resident Agency
Fortunato video St. Germaine video McCaskill video
Special Agent, Gallup Resident Agency
  Criminal
Investigator, The Navajo Nation
  Special Agent, Albuquerque Division
Johns video Brusuelas video Roanhorse video
Special Agent, Santa Fe Resident Agency
 
Assistant Prosecutor, Mescalero Apache Tribe  
Senior Prosecutor, The Navajo Nation

 

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Indian Country Crimes page

Indian Country Crimes
The FBI investigates the most serious offenses: murder, child sexual and physical abuse, violent assaults, drug trafficking, gaming violations, and public corruption matters.
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