HISTORY

The Orlando Metropolitan area is world renowned as a family oriented and tourist friendly community.  Since 1978, this reputation has been contributed to by the results of the cooperative law enforcement and prosecution efforts of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation Task Force (MBI), the longest running task force of its kind nationwide. The citizens, local business owners, and visitors to Central Florida continue to benefit from the actions of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation Task Force, which maintains Orlando’s family oriented reputation by monitoring the Adult Entertainment industry, as well as targeting narcotics trafficking organizations, vice enterprises, and organized crime. The MBI was conceived to fill the need for a cooperative effort to combat criminal activities which were organized, well-financed, and operated freely across jurisdictional lines of the existing law enforcement agencies.  In 1978, the MBI was created as a specialized group of investigators assigned to concentrate on narcotics trafficking, organized crime, racketeering, and vice-related crimes such as prostitution, gambling, and adult entertainment.  The MBI attacks these crimes through proactive investigations, civil litigation, and criminal prosecution for violations of federal and state laws as well as county and city ordinances. The idea for the creation of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation began in February of 1975, when former Assistant State Attorney, Lawson Lamar, recognized that organized crime was establishing a foothold in Central Florida.  Mr. Lawson Lamar applied for a federal grant for $250,000 to establish a small cooperative law enforcement/prosecutor unit, known as the Organized Crime Strike Force that would better address the rise of organized crime syndicates in Central Florida which were involved in Gambling, Prostitution, Pornography, Narcotics, Complex Frauds, and Corruption. The Organized Crime Strike Force was a success, but in response to the rise in narcotics and vice enterprises in the late 1970’s, State Attorney Lawson Lamar was led to create a larger joint law enforcement and prosecution effort, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation. The original members of the MBI task force were the State Attorney’s Office of the 9th Judicial Circuit, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and the Orlando Police Department.  The MBI Task Force has grown as a cooperative effort and is now comprised of the following seventeen local, state, and federal agencies:  State Attorney’s Office of the Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orlando Police Department, Winter Park Police Department, Apopka Police Department, Ocoee Police Department, University of Central Florida Police Department, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Winter Garden Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Support Center, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Secret Service (USSS), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The MBI Task Force, is governed by a eleven member Governing Board consisting of the chief executives of the State Attorney’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement-Orlando Region, Florida Highway Patrol, Police Departments, and Sheriff’s Offices that contribute staffing to the MBI. The benefit to law enforcement is that participating MBI agencies receive better trained and more experienced investigators when their personnel rotate back to other assignments.  More importantly, however, the inter-agency cooperation that results from the MBI benefits all the citizens of Central Florida, as organized criminals can no longer escape prosecution by traversing across jurisdictional lines.

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