Special Agents are criminal investigators who plan and conduct investigations concerning possible violations of criminal and administrative provisions of the Forest Service and other statues under the U.S. Code. Special agents are normally plain clothes officers who carry concealed firearms, and other defensive equipment, make arrests, carry out complex criminal investigations, present cases for prosecution to U.S. Attorneys, and prepare investigative reports. Typically there is one special agent stationed in each geographic zone. All field agents are required to travel a great deal and usually maintain a case load often to fifteen ongoing criminal investigations atone time.
In addition, criminal investigators/special agents:
- Work cooperatively with Federal, State, local and tribal law enforcement agencies
- Conduct complex criminal and civil investigations involving Drug Trafficking Organizations, domestic terrorism and claims for or against the government
- Conduct undercover and surveillance operations
- Testify in court on behalf of the government
Some examples of criminal cases are:
- Illegal outfitter and guiding
- Theft of government property
- Timber theft
- Investigations of wildland fire origins
- Manufacture and distribution of controlled substances
- Assault of Federal employees or volunteers
Criminal investigators occasionally conduct internal and civil claim investigations.