2022 FBI Houston Year in Review
HOUSTON, TX—As we launch into 2023 full throttle, a brief examination of FBI Houston’s successes demonstrates our efforts to remain good stewards of taxpayer dollars and our commitment to the FBI’s mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution of the United States. The men and women of FBI Houston—which covers 40 Texas Gulf Coast counties ranging from Beaumont to Bryan and Corpus Christi to Texas City— work diligently to investigate and neutralize criminal and national security threats every day. Here are some examples of the achievements made by our office last year.
In 2022, the FBI Houston Violent Crime Task Force alone arrested more than 100 violent armed robbers, carjackers, drug dealers, bank robbers, and gang members. Along with those suspects, it also seized more than 60 weapons.
Agents with our Violent Crimes Against Children and Human Trafficking squads took over two dozen child predators and human traffickers off the street, recovering over a dozen child victims.
FBI Houston’s work to dismantle leadership structures of various transnational criminal organizations took us beyond the U.S. border and into countries like Colombia and Tanzania where our agents worked with FBI Legal Attaché (global) offices and the trusted local law enforcement partners to disrupt and subdue criminal networks trafficking drugs and weapons.
Last summer in an ongoing case, FBI Houston national security agents arrested two men for helping fund terrorist organizations abroad. Another two individuals in separate cases were sentenced to federal prison for selling hundreds of guns being smuggled to other foreign terrorist organizations.
A mass school shooting was prevented thanks to the quick action of our agents and task force officers who followed up on leads that resulted in the arrest of a minor. This is an ongoing matter and one of many school threats we investigated.
Civil Rights and Public Corruption
An investigation by our civil rights squad led to federal hate crime charges against a Houston man accused of targeting transgender victims through a dating app.
A Houston Health Department employee pleaded guilty to bribery after an FBI Houston investigation revealed he accepted bribes from businesses in exchange for influencing their selection in the bidding process.
Also pleading guilty to bribery was a Houston mayor’s office employee who used his position to help a local business circumvent COVID-19 restrictions.
Two men were arrested after an FBI Houston investigation revealed they had defrauded multiple vendors out of more than $39 million through a PPE non-delivery scam.
A cyber investigation led to the indictment of Russian cybercriminal Igor Dekhtyarchuk, wanted for operating an illicit marketplace that sold thousands of stolen login credentials, personally identifiable information, and authentication tools.
FBI Houston cyber agents dismantled a Business email Compromise ring based out of Nigeria that stole millions of dollars from victims in the United States and abroad.
We also uncovered and dismantled a years-long securities fraud ‘pump and dump’ scheme being carried out through social media. The investigation led to the arrest of eight men accused of stealing more than $100 million from their investors/followers.
Out of a single investigation, our FBI Texas City office arrested five individuals, seized 15 weapons and nearly one million dollars in cash, along with more than 400 kilos of hard drugs and 1,500 pounds of marijuana.
A cyberstalker out of Walker County is waiting to be sentenced following his admission to receiving child pornography and stalking 20 women on social media after an FBI Bryan investigation exposed his crimes.
FBI agents arrested a former manager of the Prairie View Federal Credit Union on charges she embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly customers.
FBI agents also extradited two wanted fugitives who fled to Mexico in separate cases. They now face overdue justice in Texas for their crimes. One was wanted for a bank robbery, the other for continuous sexual assault of a child.
In east Texas, an FBI Beaumont ‘first of its kind’ investigation resulted in the first federal “prison drone drop” arrest and indictment in Texas.
Beaumont agents also spearheaded the investigation of a rival gang attack inside a federal prison that resulted in two deaths, two attempted murders, and a week-long nationwide lockdown of all inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Seven MS-13 gang members were federally charged in that case. It was also an FBI Beaumont investigation that led to federal child exploitation charges against a former Little League Baseball coach.
Agents in our Corpus Christi office broke up a large-scale diesel resale scheme that involved the installation of skimmers on gasoline pumps to steal credit card information from unsuspecting victims. The suspects would use the victims’ stolen information to create duplicates of the credit cards and purchase large quantities of diesel fuel, which they illegally resold at a discounted price.
In a particularly egregious case, our Corpus Christi agents acted quickly to arrest a man who was sexually molesting his toddler daughter and distributing digital content of his crimes across social media.
FBI Houston’s crisis management team deployed resources to the Uvalde elementary school shooting and in support of security at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The above cases, investigations, and operations are just a fraction of the work the men and women of FBI Houston accomplished last year. Many of the daily crimes prevented by our team are successes the public will, unfortunately, never hear about due to the confidential nature of our work.
Behind these accomplishments are special agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, language specialists, victim specialists, and countless others who support investigations to keep our Texas Gulf Coast community safe.
But we don’t work alone. We collaborate with our local, state, federal, and international law enforcement partners. We also rely on the support of other FBI field offices, FBI headquarters, and valued FBI private sector partners.
As former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover once said, “The most effective weapon against crime is cooperation … the efforts of all law enforcement agencies with the support and understanding of the American people.” Quite simply, as we enter 2023, we need and appreciate the support of the public we serve. You. Our neighbors. The American people.