New special agent in charge steps into role at FBI’s Honolulu field office

Steven B. Merrill (center) is the new special agent in charge of Hawaii’s branch of the Federal...
Steven B. Merrill (center) is the new special agent in charge of Hawaii’s branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Jun. 7, 2021 at 5:31 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 5:34 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Steven B. Merrill, the new special agent in charge of Honolulu’s FBI field office, said he learned early on in his career the incredible value of working with the community.

Before being appointed and moving into the Kapolei FBI complex, Merrill spent two years at the bureau’s Washington, D.C. headquarters focusing on financial crimes ― an assignment that escalated further with a rise in fraud during the pandemic.

“I believe that every crime really is a financial crime to some extent,” said Merrill. “It’s either the movement of funds, criminal proceeds of the funds, so you know, my basic tenet for investigating whether it’s a national security case or a criminal case, is follow the money.”

Since joining the FBI in 1991, Merrill’s had assignments around the world and he was the first foreign agent to respond to the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.

Early in his career, Merrill helped close the Unabomber case, an investigation that spanned 20 years.

“We numbered all of our suspects in the case, Ted Kaczynski was number 2,416 and there were more suspects after him,” Merrill said.

“We didn’t know how the person was putting the bombs together and it really took a great deal of effort and I have to say, it taught me a great lesson about the fact that we rely on the public to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement.”

That’s a lasting lesson he brings to his latest assignment and he promises his office will remain vigilant against a gamut of threats, such as organized crimes, financial fraud, and integrity of the systems.

“Whether it be through corruption or civil rights violations, we want to make sure that everyone’s rights are protected and that the government resources here in the area are being protected and the citizens aren’t being defrauded,” Merrill said.

Merrill also discussed the recent national high-profile cyber hacks and says Hawaii isn’t immune to online security threats.

He adds that the Honolulu office is always recruiting and those interested can apply at

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