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jeseymour
09-02-2009, 05:47 PM
In trying to come up with an actual plot for my work in progress, I have an idea that might work for me, but I need a reality check. I have a character working undercover for the FBI who is not an FBI agent, he's more of an informer, planted in a group that is suspected of some sort of domestic terrorism plot. This guy is in and out of the group's compound on a regular basis. I also have a US Deputy Marshal I'd like to throw into the story, (she has history with the MC and it would make the story interesting) and I was thinking of having her go up to the compound to serve a warrant, maybe on a non-custodial kidnapping that has crossed state lines. Would that be a federal warrant or would it be a state or county LEO serving that?

Is it at all conceivable that the FBI might not know about an ongoing investigation into the kidnapping (a child is taken from her mother, who has custody, by her paternal grandfather, who happens to be the head of this group in the compound with the whole domestic terrorism investigation going on.) This story is set about four or five years ago, and I do recall that part of the problem with 911 was that the Federal agencies weren't talking to each other. I can totally see the Marshal's service not knowing about the FBI investigation, as that is very hush hush, but could the FBI guys not know about the kidnapping? In a case of non-custodial kidnapping that crosses state lines, would the FBI be doing the investigation, maybe a different branch office, and might they not know what these other guys are doing? It's a big organization, right? If it's obvious who has taken the child, would a warrant simply be issued by the Justice Department and the deputy marshals go and serve it? Or would the FBI simply go up there and take the kid back? If so, I can try a different scenario to get my two characters to collide.

Am I off in outer space? :)

Any help at all will be highly appreciated!

RJK
09-02-2009, 08:03 PM
I'm not that familiar with the US Marshal's service, but it is possible they could be involved in serving court orders.
The FBI would have jurisdiction in an abduction that crossed state lines (it's not actually a kidnapping). Assuming the agents handling the abduction enter the grandfather's name in their system, it should pop up as an inquiry, in the anti-terrorist unit's system. They would most probably notify the other agents of the ongoing, sensitive investigation.
You could, believably, have the Marshal attempt to serve a court order on the grandfather, not knowing about the FBI investigation, and the FBI would have no knowledge of the court order.

jeseymour
09-02-2009, 08:11 PM
You could, believably, have the Marshal attempt to serve a court order on the grandfather, not knowing about the FBI investigation, and the FBI would have no knowledge of the court order.

Thanks RJK, that's exactly what I wanted to do. Things go downhill fast from there. :tongue

smcc360
09-02-2009, 08:32 PM
The FBI would have primary jurisdiction in an interstate kidnapping case involving a child.

However, if it started as a state-level missing case, and there's no information that the kid was taken out-of-state, it might never have gotten kicked up to the Bureau.

The US Marshals Service works very closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as part of their Sex Offender Investigations Branch under the authority of the 'Adam Walsh Act'. The Marshals Service also maintains a number of multi-agency task forces with state and local law enforcement.


If it's obvious who has taken the child, would a warrant simply be issued by the Justice Department and the deputy marshals go and serve it? Or would the FBI simply go up there and take the kid back?

If the Marshals were investigating the kidnapping and had reason to believe the grandfather was the abductor, they wouldn't send one deputy to serve a court order. The 'court order' in this case would most likely be an arrest warrant, which would mean six to eight deputies smashing the door down. Unless they had knowledge of the religious compound situation, in which Grandpa would be getting a two AM visit from the USMS Special Operations Group. That would be about sixty guys dressed like ninjas, with submachines, grenades, armored personnel carriers, etc. Plus whoever the FBI wanted to send.

For purposes of your story, a better scenario might involve the local agency which originally investigated the kidnapping (probably the State Police) requesting assistance from the US Marshals on their task force. As part of their investigation, they might ask the USMS task force officers in whatever state the grandfather lives in to interview him, even if they don't have reason to believe he snatched the kid. That might lead to your deputy (and her partner) showing up to talk to the grandfather some morning.

You might want to throw in a red herring at this point. The most likely suspect of the abduction would be the child's father. The marshals could be talking to the grandfather to see what information he has about the ex-husband's whereabouts.

In that scenario, it's likely that none of the federal agencies involved would know what the others were doing. In general, the US Marshals and the FBI don't talk to one another (long story).

If you have any questions about the Marshals Service and how they work cases, please feel free to shoot me a PM or post it here. I'll tell you anything that isn't Double Top Secret. :cool:

jeseymour
09-02-2009, 09:44 PM
For purposes of your story, a better scenario might involve the local agency which originally investigated the kidnapping (probably the State Police) requesting assistance from the US Marshals on their task force. As part of their investigation, they might ask the USMS task force officers in whatever state the grandfather lives in to interview him, even if they don't have reason to believe he snatched the kid. That might lead to your deputy (and her partner) showing up to talk to the grandfather some morning.

This is perfect. Thank you!


You might want to throw in a red herring at this point. The most likely suspect of the abduction would be the child's father. The marshals could be talking to the grandfather to see what information he has about the ex-husband's whereabouts.

Could be interesting, as the ex-husband is a Marine in Iraq. But I'd guess the investigators might know that. It'd be great if they really didn't know.


In general, the US Marshals and the FBI don't talk to one another (long story).

This, I know. I'm not entirely sure where I got it, but I think by way of my father-in-law, who worked Federal Law Enforcement for a number of years. (Not in any of the agencies mentioned, his agency no longer exists.)

I will shoot you a pm, smcc360, just have to formulate some questions. I've had a number of people tell me how much they like this deputy marshal character, so I'd like to use her in this book, but would need more info about the USMS. Thank you!

dirtsider
09-02-2009, 10:30 PM
The ex-husband could have been shipped out recently and the mother might not have known if she doesn't keep in touch with him.

smcc360
09-03-2009, 03:54 AM
Could be interesting, as the ex-husband is a Marine in Iraq. But I'd guess the investigators might know that. It'd be great if they really didn't know.



The ex-husband could have been shipped out recently and the mother might not have known if she doesn't keep in touch with him.

Or he could be a prior-military contractor working for a PMC. Those records are more of a hassle to get than military deployments.