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Who Investigates Federal Crime?

Updated: November 23, 2023
Nicholas G. Gounaris
By Nicholas G. Gounaris

Nicholas G. Gounaris is a skilled trial lawyer and founding partner of Gounaris Abboud law firm. He provides clients of the firm with competent legal representation and focuses his law practice in the areas of DUI Defense, Criminal Defense, Family Law Issues, Federal Criminal Law and Personal Injury cases.

The federal government authorizes multiple agencies to investigate several areas of federal crime.

An enormous quantity of federal crimes exist.

Thus, one agency would get overwhelmed if it were responsible for investigating every single allegation of wrongdoing.

Instead, various agencies head federal crime investigations for offenses within their expertise.

For example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigates allegations of tax fraud, tax evasion, and other violations of federal tax codes.

If you tasked a group of IRS federal crime investigators with finding a suspected drug smuggler, they would likely not know where to start.

Even if you are under investigation by a federal agency, you still have the right to effective legal counsel.

Federal criminal charges can result in steep fines, a stiff prison sentence, and a significant stint on probation.

Contact one of our federal criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA today to represent you.

Which Agencies Investigate Federal Crimes?

As stated above, several agencies investigate allegations of federal law violations. The various federal agencies hold responsibility for different types of crimes.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

If you watch law enforcement dramas on television, you have likely heard of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The FBI essentially acts as the police for the federal government, making up the largest federal law enforcement agency. It is tasked with investigating a broad range of crimes, including:

  • Drug trafficking,
  • Financial wrongdoing,
  • Kidnapping,
  • Counterterrorism, and
  • Criminals who cross state lines.

Additionally, the FBI frequently assists local law enforcement with their investigations, providing lots of additional resources and expertise when needed.

Drug Enforcement Agency

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) carries responsibility for investigating and enforcing federal drug laws.

The DEA primarily focuses on large-scale drug operations that transport the products across state lines or deal in international drug trafficking.

In many cases, the DEA and FBI partner with local agencies to take down large drug trafficking rings and prevent smuggling.

The DEA also seizes and forfeits any assets that are derived from, traceable to, or intended to be used for drug trafficking.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is often not as recognizable as some other federal agencies that make appearances across nighttime television programs.

However, ATF is responsible for some of the largest investigations.

ATF specializes in the enforcement of federal weapons charges, which can include anything from firearms trafficking to the illegal use and storage of explosives.

The ATF also investigates arson, bombings, and acts of terrorism.

Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates and enforces federal securities laws to protect investors and improve transparency in the investing process.

The SEC oversees participants involved in securities markets and brings civil enforcement actions against parties accused of crimes like insider trading, fraud, or false and misleading statements to investors.

Many of the crimes investigated by the SEC are referred to as white collar crimes. In some cases, the FBI assists the SEC in its investigation of white collar criminal activity.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for enforcing immigration laws as well as investigating criminal and terrorist activity of foreign nationals that reside within the United States.

ICE was formed after 9/11 and is the primary investigative and law enforcement branch of the Department of Homeland Security.

Fish and Wildlife Service

The law enforcement division of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) investigates crimes involving wildlife, regulates wildlife trade, helps conserve wildlife resources, and educates everyday Americans about wildlife protection laws.

This is who investigates crimes like poaching or hunting an endangered animal.

U.S. Postal Inspection Service

The Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) enforces the laws that defend the United States mail system from illegal or dangerous uses.

The Postal Inspection Service also supports and protects the USPS and its employees, infrastructure, and customers in whatever ways it can.

Does It Matter Who Investigates Federal Crimes?

Regardless of which agency investigates the federal crime, the accused party still has the same constitutional rights.

It might seem scarier to go into an interview with an FBI agent as opposed to a local police officer.

However, the FBI agent has to respect your constitutional rights the same way.

Regardless of whether you are facing allegations at the federal or state level, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Are You the Subject of a Federal Crime Investigation? Contact Gounaris Abboud, LPA Today

Our team of federal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA has over 50 years of combined experience representing individuals with criminal accusations against them.

If you or a loved one is facing allegations that you committed a federal offense, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can.

Even in the most challenging cases, we pride ourselves on offering aggressive and courageous advocacy for our clients.

Contact our office at 937-222-1515, so we can start reviewing your case.

Available 24/7 & Obligation-Free