Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is a federal agency under the umbrella of the different law enforcement organizations under the Department of Justice. The agency was organized under the Homeland Security Act of 2002. The ATF was initially created pursuant to the initiation of the Office of the Internal Revenue to create its own department that will be responsible for the enforcement of the tax law and at the same time to perform as a tax collecting body. When the Homeland Security Department was created and organized, the ATF was then formally transferred to become part of the Department of Justice.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has an extensive scope of responsibilities. The organization is both a law enforcement and a regulatory agency with the following powers and authority to carry out the following functions and duties by its special agents:

  • Preventing the unlawful use, possession and manufacturing of illegal firearms and explosives
  • Prevent the illegal trafficking of both the alcohol and tobacco products
  • Reducing the risk of public safety due to criminal organizations and gang formation
  • Regulation of the sale and transportation of ammunition, explosives and firearms across states
  • Regulate the alcohol and tobacco industries
  • Coordinate with the local law enforcement agencies to promote public safety and prevent the commission of federal offenses.

The main objective in the creation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is to protect the public in general from the commission of federal offenses involving the following crimes that it primarily investigates:

  • Arson
  • Bombings
  • Acts of terrorism
  • The illegal use and possession of explosive, firearms and ammunition
  • Illegal trafficking of firearms and explosive
  • Violent crime organizations
  • Use of other destructive devices
  • Illegal trading of tobacco and alcohol

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a branch of the Department of Justice that was established in 1973 under the administration of President Nixon. It is the lead agency that is responsible for the enforcement of the Controlled Substance Act. The DEA exercises a concurrent jurisdiction with the other agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Immigration and Customs  Enforcement in the prosecution of the federal offense for drug smuggling. The main objective of the agency is to prosecute and investigation drug related activities within and across the borders of the United States.

The authority of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) extends from the investigation and prosecution of crimes involving drug smuggling and related acts. Among the powers and authorities of the DEA include the following:

  • Investigate criminal acts involving the manufacturing, cultivation, smuggling and distribution of illegal drugs.
  • Prosecute criminal organizations or individuals who are engaged in the above-stated activities
  • Confiscate the illegal articles or drugs
  • Seize assets that are linked to drug smuggling and related federal offenses
  • Manage and establish a program that will eradicate the availability of controlled substances both domestically and internationally
  • Exercise an exclusive jurisdiction in pursuing the investigation of crimes related to illegal drugs and other controlled substances abroad.
  • Prevent marijuana production and distribution and cut down the supply within the US territory.
  • Pursue organizations that are engaged in the sale and distribution of illegal drugs and narcotics.

The focus of the investigation of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) primarily involves the following federal offenses:

  • Drug smuggling within the domestic and international regions
  • Violations of the anti-drug law that includes the manufacturing, distributing and dispensing of legally controlled substances
  • Other drug related crimes
  • Crimes involving the illegal distribution of medical marijuana

Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)

The main investigative arm of the Department of Justice is the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) that exercises both the functions of investigation and intelligence. The principal purpose by which the organization was established is to defend the United States against all forms of threats by using an intelligence driven function to secure the national territory. The FBI was founded on July 26, 1908 where it started out as a small group of special agents working as investigators for the Department of Justice. Its headquarter is in Washington, D.C. with the FBI Director leading a large number of employees consisting of special agents, language specialists, intelligence experts, and information technology analysts as among many others.

The principal duties of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) mainly involve the gathering of intelligence and to conduct investigations. Its investigatory power is the broadest among all of the investigating agencies of the Department of Justice. Among its principal duties and powers include the following:

  • Carry firearms, serve warrants and make an arrest
  • Investigate domestic and international acts of terrorisms
  • Eradicate the threat to the national security
  • Investigate crimes that are not vested upon the exclusive jurisdiction of a particular government agency
  • Exercises the authority to use surveillance devices and tools in its investigations

The scope of authority of the FBI to investigate different types of crimes is vast. They usually perform the investigation independently or in close coordination with the local law enforcement agencies or other investigating bureaus of the Department of Justice. The most common crimes that the bureau investigates are the following:

  • White collar crime
  • Terrorism
  • Serial killing
  • Espionage
  • Cyber crime
  • Weapons of mass destruction
  • Violent crimes
  • Fraud
  • Public Corruption
  • Organized crimes
  • Major Thefts
  • Bank robbery
  • Human Trafficking
  • Hate crime
  • Crimes against children
  • Drug trafficking

U.S. Marshals Service (USMS)

If there is one versatile arm of law enforcement agency in the United States, it is the U.S Marshals Service (USMS). Its services are the core of the federal justice system where its functions are uniquely centered in all of the law enforcement initiatives of the federal government The USMS was established by the Judiciary Act of 1789, making it one of the oldest  federal law enforcement agencies in the US. It is mainly the enforcer of the US federal courts and is responsible for securing the judiciary branch of the government.

The duties and functions of the U.S Marshals Service (USMS) mainly evolve around the enforcement of the orders of the federal courts and in ensuring the protection and order within the justice system. The USMS agents are called marshals and they have the following authorities, duties and responsibilities:

  • Provide judicial security to protect the officials and employees of the judicial branch of the government
  • Secure and transport prisoners
  • Find and capture the fugitives of justice
  • Operate the housing for prisoners
  • Engage in tactical operations
  • Serve warrants and make an arrest
  • Forfeiture and seizure of assets acquired from criminal activities
  • Manage the Witness Protection Program
  • Extradition and deportation of offenders

U.S Marshals Service (USMS) usually investigates crimes and offenses that are related to the enforcement of the justice system. Their investigation includes the following:

  • Fugitive from justice
  • Escaped prisoners
  • Violations of parole and probation
  • Threats to the judicial officers and employees
  • Violations of the anti-narcotic drugs in concurrent jurisdiction with the DEA