Oil and Crime in Indian Country
Director Visits Reservation in North Dakota to Discuss Rising Threat
FBI Director James B. Comey joins Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation Tribal Chairman Mark Fox for an aerial tour of Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in northwestern North Dakota on June 6, 2016. During the tour, Fox described how the communities and landscape below have been impacted by the sharp influx in oil drilling since 2008. The tour was part of Comey’s visit to the reservation, where he met with state, local, and tribal leaders to discuss the Bureau’s support in fighting rising crime caused by the oil boom.
New FBI Resident Agency Opens in North Dakota
On June 6, 2016, FBI Director James B. Comey presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the Bureau’s newest facility in Williston, North Dakota. He was joined by Special Agent in Charge Richard T. Thornton of the Bureau’s Minneapolis Division, which includes both North Dakota and South Dakota in its jurisdiction.
“This is exciting day for all of us who care about the communities that we live in and serve,” said Comey. “I want to let our partners know this building was built big enough to accommodate the task forces we need to keep this community safe, and together we will do tremendous good.”
Establishing a permanent presence in Williston was in response to the growth in illegal activity in western North Dakota, especially following the region’s oil boom in 2008.
“Having FBI personnel working and living in this community is an important part in our relationship with state, local, and federal law enforcement partners,” said Thornton. “The Williston office will allow the FBI to stay ahead of both criminal and national security threats in the region.”
The Williston Resident Agency joins the FBI’s four existing offices in North Dakota, which are currently located in Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot, and Bismarck.
At the 14th National Indian Nations Conference on the reservation of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in California, FBI Director James Comey pledged the Bureau’s “unshakeable” commitment to tribal nations.