FBI to put down stakes in oil patch
WILLISTON, N.D. — The FBI will open a permanent office in western North Dakota’s oil patch, in what was once a sleepy and remote corner of America.
The oil boom in recent years — brought on by fracking — has brought tens of thousands to the area and given western North Dakota the nation’s fastest-growing communities. With the growth has come more crime — and more sophisticated kinds of crime.
Police have found themselves dealing with human and drug trafficking, organized crime and homicides.
“We aren’t expecting them to come and save us from anything,” said Williams County Sherriff Scott Busching. “We don’t need saving — we need help.”
The FBI has satellite offices in Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismarck and Minot. But in expansive North Dakota, those are all long drives.
The FBI doesn’t open new satellite offices often: The last was in New London, Conn., in 2006.
Staff for Sen. John Hoeven, who along with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp pushed for the office, said there is no firm timeline for the office to open. The FBI is looking for places to lease.
Williams County Commissioner Dan Kalil welcomed the FBI office but said he misses the old days.
“We look forward to … when the problems are gone and we can go back to the community that we were,” he said.