Attorney General Tim Fox announced the Montana Department of Justice has hired two full-time agents who will work solely on human trafficking investigations.  The team, based in Billings, is employed by DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation and will work on cases of suspected human trafficking statewide. DCI Agent Andrew Yedinak was promoted to supervisor of DCI’s Computer and Internet Crime Unit. Justice Department spokeswoman Anastasia Burton explains.

“In his new job, he will be responsible for investigating human trafficking, internet crimes against children, and cybercrimes,” Burton said. “DCI’s forensic computer examiners are also part of the unit he is supervising.”

The applicant selected for the second new human trafficking position is an agent with several years of investigative experience.  Due to safety and operational integrity concerns related to the undercover duties of the position, DOJ will not release the agent’s name. According to Burton, these two individuals won’t be doing this work alone.

“They will work with Tribal law enforcement, local law enforcement, highway patrol and federal agents,” Burton said. “It really does take a team to work human trafficking investigations. We are looking forward to all of the good work that these two particular agents are going to do.”

Burton says they are very pleased that they now have two agents who can deal strictly with human trafficking operations.

“The cases that they have to deal with are certainly heart wrenching and disturbing,” Burton said. “Human traffickers are hardened criminals. There is often an excess between human trafficking, guns and drugs. We are dealing with a criminal element here that is difficult to deal with.”

Funding for the new team was made possible by HB 749. The new legislation, which went into effect July 1, provided $519,815 to establish a two-person human trafficking enforcement team within DCI.