On Tuesday, August 16, 2022, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray visited the FBI Boston Division’s Portland, Maine, Resident Agency and met with Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta and office personnel. He also met with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to affirm the FBI’s continued commitment to help combat violent crime, hate crimes, homegrown violent extremism, and racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism, among other criminal and national security threats facing communities in Maine.
During the meeting, the law enforcement leaders discussed matters of mutual interest affecting law enforcement in Maine and around the country. Director Wray praised the close working relationships between the FBI and Maine’s law enforcement community, recognizing the many partnerships, task forces, and working groups that provide an effective, collaborative force to combat various violations.
“In today’s dynamic threat environment, we either win or lose as a team,” said FBI Director Wray. ”Focusing our investigations on the most violent offenders, extremists, and gangs to get the worst criminals off the streets; sharing analytical and investigative resources; and proactively engaging with the community are shared strategies that will make the neighborhoods of Maine safer. We are committed to being a strong partner with you in that fight.”
Among the topics discussed was an FBI Boston initiative targeting gang members in Maine and New Hampshire capitalizing on the higher resale value of illicit drugs and the accessibility of firearms. The FBI’s Southern Maine Gang Task Force is working with FBI task forces and law enforcement partners in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to address a surge in opioid-related gang violence in the region. Since February, this initiative has led to the identification and arrests of 30 individuals, the seizure of 36 firearms, the seizure of six kilos of methamphetamine, four kilos of fentanyl, and one kilo of cocaine.
The FBI is also supporting the newly formed New England Prescription Opioid Task Force, which will help to address one of the root causes of the opioid epidemic, the unlawful prescription and diversion of opioids by corrupt medical professionals and others. Improved law enforcement collaboration on cases involving hate crimes and violent extremists investigated by the FBI and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Maine were also discussed, along with the critical role Mainers play in helping law enforcement identify and disrupt threats.
Director Wray makes regular visits to the FBI’s 56 field offices and legal attachés to meet with employees and get briefed on local issues and crime trends, as well as to collaborate with partners. Today marks the first time he’s visited Maine since being sworn in as the eighth Director of the FBI.