FBI Springfield: Year in Review
The following op-ed by FBI Springfield Special Agent in Charge David Nanz was published in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier
As 2023 begins, I thought it heartening to highlight successes of your Springfield FBI Field Office from the past year so you may see the positive impact our efforts had throughout central and southern Illinois. Threats to our community come from all directions, but we’re hitting back at them full force. I continue to be impressed by the dedication of our workforce—our agents, analysts, professional staff, and task force officers who serve the public with rigor, objectivity, and a fierce passion for our mission to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution. Our focus is on prevention, but when bad actors strike, we will not rest until we hold them accountable and work to heal victims and the community.
Over the last year, the efforts of the men and women of FBI Springfield led to notable successes across our territory, from Moline to Marion.
The violent crime problem is real, and it’s one we’re firmly determined to combat. Our primary model for fighting violent crime remains our task forces. We work shoulder-to-shoulder with our local, state, and federal partners, using intelligence to drive investigations which identify and target the most violent and dangerous offenders. We investigated and arrested dangerous carjackers and gang members who terrorized their communities. In total, we arrested more than 35 violent criminals during the year.
Organized Crime and Drugs
Transnational organized crime poses a significant threat to our national and economic security. FBI Springfield targets high-level drug dealers and organizations operating in Illinois who distribute for Mexican drug cartels. Our efforts to disrupt and dismantle these organizations led to the arrest of 45 individuals and the seizure of dangerous drugs and firearms.
To combat financial crime, we assembled a team of highly skilled agents, analysts, and forensic accountants who identify fraud and trace money. Financial crime not only harms individuals and businesses, but it can also erode investor confidence and trust in our financial markets. During the year, our team uncovered bid rigging, the misuse of federal grant money, bank fraud schemes, and significant fraud targeting various COVID-19 relief programs. Our efforts led to charging more than 20 individuals during the year for orchestrating these types of fraud schemes.
Law enforcement officers are entrusted with the power and authority to protect our community. In the rare instances when officers abuse that authority, the FBI prioritizes holding those officers accountable. This year, FBI Springfield brought justice on prison guards who brutally beat an inmate resulting in his death.
Crimes Against Children
We utilize proactive investigative techniques to stay ahead of sexual predators, and by doing so, seek to remove them before they harm children. This year, our efforts resulted in more than 80 individuals sentenced to prison who harmed or attempted to harm children.
Preventing terrorist attacks is a hallmark of the FBI’s mission. FBI Director Wray recently commented, “Lone actors are the greatest terrorist threat we face in the U.S. today.” This year, the efforts of FBI Springfield’s Joint Terrorism Task Force led to nine individuals being sentenced to prison on charges ranging from attempted arson, sabotage of railroad tracks, extortion of a railway, and possession of a destructive device.
One of the FBI’s most important areas of focus – and one you may not often hear about – is our effort to counter foreign government efforts to steal our secrets and technology. In particular, the Chinese government continues to orchestrate a major effort utilizing its intelligence services, researchers, business conduits, and academics to steal U.S. intellectual property. This year, our efforts led to the disruption of those seeking to steal our secrets and technology.
Malicious cyber activity threatens the public’s safety and our national and economic security. The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating cyber attacks and intrusions. We collect and share intelligence and engage with victims while working to unmask those committing malicious cyber activities, wherever they are. This year, our efforts disrupted foreign malicious cyber actors and led to the arrest of two individuals.
These examples highlight just some of the positive impact FBI Springfield made over the last year. Special thanks to our local, state, federal, private sector, and community partners who were integral to our success. We are privileged to serve communities throughout Illinois and will continue to dedicate ourselves to protecting the American people in the new year.
David G. Nanz, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Springfield