FBI, This Week: Wildlife Trafficking
June 20, 2019
The FBI uses its investigative expertise in transnational criminal enterprise cases to help address illicit wildlife trafficking networks.
Mollie Halpern: The FBI uses its investigative expertise in transnational criminal enterprise cases to help address illicit wildlife trafficking networks.
In that way, the FBI can be a valuable partner to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Homeland Security.
Maxwell Marker worked and oversaw these types of investigations as an FBI section chief.
Maxwell Marker: Typically, organized crime groups are all about money and profit, so they do a lot of different crimes. One piece of that criminal activity may be wildlife trafficking. And that's typically how the FBI gets involved, because of our organized crime expertise and the individuals that work organized crime within the Bureau.
Halpern: African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and other organized crime groups traffic wildlife products like ivory and rhinoceros horns from Africa into the United States for profit.
Endangered fish from Mexico have also been trafficked into the U.S.
The wildlife is used for traditional medicine, food delicacies, and as status symbols.
Marker: It's shocking to me the volume of wildlife that are trafficked in this day and age, because you have a huge international awareness now of the fact that a lot of this wildlife isn't going to be around anymore, 10, 15, 20, 50 years from now. But it doesn't seem to be slowing people down.
Halpern: The FBI is also a training resource for law enforcement in countries like Kenya, where the wildlife are sourced.
The Bureau provides its international law enforcement partners with techniques to enhance their investigative skills beyond targeting poachers and into dismantling criminal networks.
With FBI, This Week, I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau.