Montana’s Congressional delegation is asking the Federal Bureau of Investigations to reinstate a full-time human trafficking agent in the state.
FBI Special Agent Brandon Walter was the only full-time agent assigned to human trafficking cases in the state. Now he’ll divide his time between investigating human trafficking cases and crimes in Indian Country, as first reported by the Billings Gazette.
Montana’s three U.S. legislators have all written FBI Director Christopher Wray, asking him to keep a full-time human trafficking agent and another full-time agent assigned to Indian Country. That action is something Billings City Council member, Penny Ronning, fought hard for. Ronning says she contacted all three of the legislators.
Ronning, who’s also the co-founder of the Billings task force on human trafficking, says the change will make Montana communities less safe, not more. She says federal agents can help build investigations for federal crimes, which carry higher punishments than the state level. She wants to see Agent Walter returned to full-time human trafficking work as soon as possible, but says that Indian Country deserves their own investigator too.
The FBI did not respond to request for comment in time for broadcast.
Olivia Reingold is Yellowstone Public Radio’s Report for America corps member.