U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales paid a visit to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Fairview Heights on Jan. 12, to discuss the area's top law enforcement priorities with federal prosecutors and various federal agents.
He praised the office's recent success in pursuing public corruption, health care fraud, methamphetamine trafficking, firearms violence, and other initiatives in the area.
"I'm here because your work in the Metro East and throughout Southern Illinois is important to me and to the President," he told the group.
"You serve on the front lines, working to protect Illinois families and communities from those who would do them harm."
In addition to meeting with U.S. Attorney Edward McNally, who hosted the discussions, he also led a working lunch with other senior prosecutors and supervisory federal agents from the FBI, ATF, DEA and other agencies.
The Southern District of Illinois includes Madison, St. Clair and the state's other southern 38 counties.
Those in attendance at the working lunch were Donald Slazinik, U.S. Marshal; Weysan Dun, FBI agent; Andrew L. Traver, ATF agent; Jack Riley, DEA agent; Timothy W. Viertel, U.S. Secret Service agent; B. Bernard Ferguson, U.S. Postal Inspection Service inspector; Byram W. Tichenor, IRS agent; Dan Strong, Immigration & Customs Enforcement agent; and Silas Irvin, U.S. Bureau of Prisons agent of Marion.
Prosecutors attending included Randy Massey, Norm Smith, Ranley Killian, Richard Lloyd, Thomas Leggans, and Liam Coonan.
Gonzales also addressed a gathering of approximately 150 Justice Department prosecutors, agents and other employees who serve in the district.
He spoke about September 11, and emphasized that the president's and department's top priority in southern Illinois and throughout the country, was to protect Americans from terrorist attacks.
Gonzales also met with attorneys and federal law enforcement officials in St. Louis in the office of Catherine Hanaway, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.