James H. Smith III
Special Agent in Charge
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Director Christopher Wray has named James Smith as the Special Agent in Charge of the Houston Field Office.
Mr. Smith’s most recent assignment was as Executive Special Assistant to the Associate Deputy Director. In this capacity he served as Chief of Staff and senior proxy and counsel to the Associate Deputy Director in the oversight of the FBI’s budget, human resources, administration, and infrastructure. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Smith served as an Inspector in the Inspection Division.
Mr. Smith entered on duty as a Special Agent of the FBI in June 2004 and was subsequently assigned to the Los Angeles Field Office, where he investigated drug trafficking, money laundering, and violent gang investigations. Between June 2008 and October 2008, he deployed to Baghdad, Iraq to support the FBI's counterterrorism mission. Mr. Smith was also a member of the FBI-Los Angeles SWAT team.
In 2010, Mr. Smith was promoted to a supervisory position at FBI Headquarters in the Criminal Investigative Division (CID), MS-13 National Gang Task Force Unit, where he managed MS-13 and 18th Street transnational gang investigations. In 2012, he was assigned to CID's International Violent Crimes Unit, where he managed international hostage takings, major crimes, and fugitive matters for the FBI.
In 2013, Mr. Smith returned to the Los Angeles Field Office as the Violent Crimes Against Children squad supervisor, where he oversaw innocent images investigations and the Child Exploitation Task Force. In 2014, Mr. Smith supervised the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) squad, where he oversaw Mexican criminal enterprise investigations, the Compton Safe Streets Gang Task Force, the Compton Violent Reduction Network, the Domestic Highway Enforcement Task Force, and the Los Angeles Airport Criminal Enterprise Task Force.
In February 2016, Mr. Smith was promoted to Assistant Special Agent in Charge in the San Antonio Field Office where he managed the National Security, Intelligence, Cyber, Language Services, Surveillance and Aviation Programs.
Mr. Smith has directed numerous domestic critical incidents throughout Texas during his career. He was appointed the initial FBI On-Scene Commander (OSC) for FEMA's response to Hurricane Harvey in southeast Texas. In this role, Mr. Smith had oversight of more than 250 FBI SWAT personnel who provided public safety support to state and local authorities conducting rescue operations in the Houston Metropolitan area and other impacted Texas communities. He also served as part of the command staff during the response and investigation of the mass shooting at Sutherland Springs Baptist Church in November 2017. Several months later, in March 2018, Mr. Smith played a critical role in the command staff of the Austin Bombing, where more than 600 FBI employees responded to the crisis. He had oversight for the FedEx facility bomb scene where crucial evidence was discovered that led to the successful identity of the Austin, Texas serial bomber, preventing further injury and death. A year later, Mr. Smith served on the command staff for the mass shooting in Odessa, Texas where 130 FBI employees responded.
Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. Smith spent 13 years in the airline industry as an Aircraft Engine Maintenance Manager and a Powerplant Engineer for Northwest Airlines and ATA Airlines. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in 1992. Mr. Smith is a native of Holliston, Massachusetts.