The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Agricultural Crimes Task-Force, more commonly referred to as the “Ag Task-Force,” investigates all cases with a nexus to the agricultural community, as well as metal thefts occurring in Fresno County. The unit’s primary objective is to suppress criminal activity by means of proactive enforcement, thorough investigations, and crime prevention/education with our partners in the Ag community and metal recycling yards.
Since 1949 (with the exception of 2001), Fresno County was the number one county in the nation in regards to agribusiness, with nearly $6.5 billion in production generated by local agriculture in the year 2013 alone. Last year we dropped to the number three position which is largely due to the current drought conditions our valley has experienced. One out of every five jobs in the Central Valley is related to agriculture and there are over 400 different commodities grown throughout our county. Because of this, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office places a high value on the investigation of Ag crimes and the prosecution of criminals who prey on the Ag community.
The Ag Task-Force was created in September of 1999 and has been in full effect ever since. Currently, the Ag Task-Force is comprised of a Sheriff's Sergeant, six Sheriff's Detectives, and a CHP Officer/Investigator. We enjoy the benefits of having a Deputy District Attorney assigned to our unit who handles all cases from the initial case filing all the way through sentencing. This concept is known as “vertical prosecution,” which ensures the cases make it all the way through the judicial system without passing through different hands.
The Ag Task-Force participates in a number of organizations, some of which include A.C.T.I.O.N. (Agricultural Crime, Technology, Information, and Organizational Network), the California Rural Crime Prevention Task-Force (C.R.C.P.T.), the Fresno County Farm Bureau, and the Fresno County Ag Roundtable. A.C.T.I.O.N. is an association of thirteen central California counties that regularly share information, support and technology to help combat agricultural crime throughout the San Joaquin Valley. A portion of our unit is grant-funded through A.C.T.I.O.N.
For information on crime prevention tips specifically related to rural locations and farming operations, visit https://www.fresnosheriff.org/protect-yourself/crime-prevention/rural-crime-prevention.html
Sergeant Ryan Hushaw