A look at the FBI’s role in Acadiana’s biggest criminal cases

Photo: KLFY
Photo: KLFY

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)—The FBI has played an important role in many of Acadiana’s biggest criminal cases.

The Bureau has an office in Lafayette which is made up of agents, analysts, support staff, and local law enforcement officers who were assigned to the office.

The office handles everything from bank robberies to public corruption cases.

The agents also provide support and expertise in times of crises, such as the 2015 Grand Theatre shooting, the 2014 bomb threat in Girard Park and at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the 2012 disappearance and murder of Mickey Shunick.

The office is located on the seventh floor of the MidSouth bank building in downtown Lafayette. Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Don Bostic is the man in charge. “So we actually live out here, we’re invested in the communities, we know the people who are here so that’s a great benefit.”

Bostic said the FBI investigates around 350 federal crimes and assists local law enforcement. The agents in the office do a little bit of everything.

Bostic oversees the FBI officers here in Lafayette and Lake Charles, and they cover a big portion of Southwest Louisiana. All the way from the Atchafalaya Basin to the Texas border, and from Evangeline Parish down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Last year, FBI agents worked around the clock after the Grand Theatre shooting. A major incident with an active shooter. “We respond out there with that in mind at first,” Said Bostic, “is to determine is this a terrorist related incident, very early on it was apparent that it was not.”

Bostic has been with the office for 18-years and has been in charge for three years.

Over time, he’s forged relationships with many in the Acadiana law enforcement community, including UL-Lafayette Police Chief, Joey Sturm.

“We really work with the FBI on a weekly basis,” said Sturm, “we have an [FBI] agent who’s assigned to the university, we stay in constant contact.”

Sturm said that local FBI agents were there in no time, after the 2014 bomb threat that led to the evacuation of the entire campus.

UL-Lafayette’s bomb dog handler found a device in the trash can in Girard Park. “The device was found by that handler but the dog didn’t alert so the chances of it actually having an explosive material was low.” Said Sturm.

The FBI was there to provide guidance, Sturm said working with the FBI is important because big events at the university can be targets for terrorists.

“You have a rapport and a relationship that would not exist with someone two, two and a half hours from here.” Said Sturm.

Sturm has a strong connection to the FBI, he graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 2006. A prestigious 11-week program from law enforcement leaders from all over the world.

“It’s a great opportunity to send someone and get some of that training in a condensed block and it’s some of the best training in the world, bar none.”

The FBI has been featured in many TV shows and movies over the years and Bostic said, it’s not quite like that in real life. He added that the portrayal in the media can even confuse juries.

“It’s an entertaining light but I find a lot of frustration with those shows because they have unreasonable expectations.” Explained Bostic.

The local FBI also investigated a Lafayette businessman who had connections to Osama Bin Laden’s personal secretary, Wadih El Hage.

El Hage graduated from UL-Lafayette and is now serving life in prison for his role in the bombings of American Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.

The Lafayette Businessman stayed in touch with El Hage and donated money to one of his charities and was sentenced to four years in prison for lying to the FBI.

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