New FBI Dallas Leader and Native Texan Says Priorities Include Fight on Cyber Attacks, Fentanyl and More

Chad Yarbrough is the new Special Agent in Charge for the FBI Dallas field office.

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Chad Yarbrough, a native Texan, has been named as the new Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Dallas field office.

"Having been born and raised and a native of the Dallas area, it's humbling and frankly surreal to be able to lead this office and have my hometown as part of the territory that I oversee," said Yarbrough.

Yarbrough, who graduated from Sam Houston State University, joined the FBI in 2006. Over the years he's worked his way up the ranks and most recently served as the deputy assistant director in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI Headquarters.

He's now bringing his years of experience combating violent crimes, terrorism, cyber-attacks and more back to the Lone Star State.

"Texas and Dallas specifically have always had a specific place in my heart, so I want to do everything I can to protect the citizens here in North and East Texas," said Yarbrough.

Thursday morning he spoke with reporters about the many priorities on his list to tackle as the new head of the FBI flagship in Dallas.

One of the topics he brought up was the fight against drug trafficking, specifically fentanyl, which has been a deadly issue in North Texas and around the country. Most recently, several people were arrested in connection to the supply believed to be linked with the overdose deaths of students in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.

"When you have drug trafficking in your area, you have violence, it goes hand-in-hand and so again, that’s why we need to work together as state, local and federal law enforcement agencies to combat this crime," said Yarbrough.

"When you have a low cost of entry, low cost of production, and high profitability, then they’re going to continue to push that," said Yarbrough in regard to Mexican cartels.

He said it will take a multifaceted approach to solve the problem of fentanyl.

"It’s not just law enforcement who can solve it, it’s the public, it’s families, it’s health care professionals working hand-in hand together to really make that impact," he said.

Hate crimes are another subject matter that's part of his list of items to focus on. Last year the Dallas FBI field office unveiled a mural campaign across the city to encourage people to report hate crimes.

"We’ve seen an increase in reporting and that I think is a good thing that we continue to get the message out and ultimately we’re able to asses better on where we need to focus on our investigations and identify those investigations that we do need pursue that give rise to the federal violation," said Yarbrough.

“Obviously race is a leading factor in a lot of those hate crimes, followed by religion, we have to do outreach of all of our community sectors if you will, and make sure we have the right education and that they’re reporting those crimes to use.”

Cyber security and threats posed by foreign and domestic actors are also top of mind for Yarbrough.

"China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, are really our primary focuses, they continue to conduct intrusions to steal our intellectual properties, our research and development, our academic research and so we have to continue to be aggressive in pursuing those actors as best as we can," said Yarbrough.

Earlier this year Governor Greg Abbott banned the popular social media app TikTok from being downloaded and used on government-issued devices. Universities across the state also banned TikTok from their campus networks and devices.

"You've seen all the reporting on TikTok, all I will say is that China continues to be aggressive when it comes to obtaining information on individuals in the U.S. and it's at an alarming rate. China alone is conducting operations against the U.S. and its allies and targets more than any other countries combined," said Yarbrough.

He said they have a strategic approach and specific offices to deal with the impending threat.

"We have new ransomware popping up every day and again, that’s why we have to stay ahead of the threat, that’s why we have to have cyber expertise and recruiting of cyber expertise in our ranks," said Yarbrough who also emphasized the importance of having the latest technology and training for this area.

At the end of 2022, the Dallas County Appraisal District website was held at ransom.

Yarbrough said there are many areas to tackle including sex trafficking, violent crimes against children and so many other threats to the community.

He said it's also important to him to build trust and rapport with the community, the private sector, local leaders, local state and federal law enforcement to help fight and solve crimes together.

"The more we're out in the community then obviously the more connected we're going to be,  so that will be a huge focus on my tenure here," he said.

“The more engagement we have, the better off we’re going to be, we have to have trust from the community part of that is our diversity recruiting and making sure we have represented communities we serve and obviously we work very hard to recruit a diverse workforce that’s a huge focus for us right now," added Yarbrough.

He said there are more than 600 agents with the FBI Dallas office who are passionate about what they do.

"They get their morale and their joy out of saving a kid who is locked in a shed in North Carolina, or recovering Glocks who have Glock switches now converted to fully automatic that are being used on our law enforcement or seizing thousands and thousands of fentanyl-laced pills," said Yarbrough.

He has taken over the role which was formerly held by Matthew Desarno, who retired last year.

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