Ivory trade investigations (New England)

Zack Sampson filed this request with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 5 of the United States of America.
Tracking # FWS-2014-00227
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Zack Sampson

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Documents for all investigations or tracking of the illegal trade of ivory in New England from January 1, 2003 until the date this request is processed. Please also include any documents related to the seizure of ivory and the destruction of seized ivory.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Zack Sampson

From: Pieters, Circee

Dear Mr. Sampson:

This acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request
seeking "documents for all investigations or tracking of the illegal trade
of ivory in New England from January 1, 2003 until the date this request is
processed . . . [including] . . . any documents related to the seizure of
ivory and the destruction of seized ivory." Your request has been assigned
#FWS-2014-00227. Please refer to this number in all correspondence. Our
initial status notification is attached for your information.

As stated in Department of the Interior FOIA regulations (refer to link
below), FOIA requests received by Interior bureaus are placed into one of
four processing tracks (simple, normal, complex, and
exceptional/voluminous). Bureaus use processing tracks to distinguish
simple requests from more complex ones on the basis of the estimated number
of workdays needed to process the request.

Your request has been categorized as exceptional/voluminous. At this time,
we are reviewing a large number of potentially responsive records and
believe it will take over 60 workdays to process your request. Once we
have identified all responsive documents, we will inform you of fees
associated with processing this request.

Because your request has been categorized as exceptional/voluminous, you
have the option of modifying your request to reduce estimated fees or
processing time. Please let us know if you would like to discuss this
option.

DOI FOIA Regulations:
http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=0fc3ab3499768eebc2e3691c8cf88dec&rgn=div5&view=text&node=43:1.1.1.1.2&idno=43

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Circee J. Pieters
Chief, Branch of Planning and Analysis
Office of Law Enforcement
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Office: 703-358-1949 Fax: 703-358-2346

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <requests@muckrock.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 11:02 AM
Subject: Freedom of Information Request: Ivory trade investigations (New
England)
To: MaryLou_DeFilippo@fws.gov

November 18, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 5
MaryLou DeFilippo, FOIA Coordinator
Ecological Services
300 Westgate Drive
Hadley, MA 01035

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request
the following records:

Documents for all investigations or tracking of the illegal trade of ivory
in New England from January 1, 2003 until the date this request is
processed. Please also include any documents related to the seizure of
ivory and the destruction of seized ivory.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this
request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made
available to the general public free of charge as part of the public
information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the
news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for
commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would
inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would
prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available
or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I
look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business
days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Zack Sampson

Filed via MuckRock.com
E-mail (Preferred): requests@muckrock.com

For mailed responses, please address (see note):
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 9040
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

PLEASE NOTE the new address as well as the fact that improperly addressed
(i.e., with the requester's name rather than MuckRock News) requests might
be returned by the USPS as undeliverable.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Nov. 18, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #FWS-2014-00227.

Thank you for your help.

From: Pieters, Circee

Dear Mr. Sampson:

The Regional office completed its search and duplication of responsive
records and forwarded all records (nearly 4,000 pages) to my office for
processing earlier this week.

There is certain information that we routinely withhold under FOIA
exemptions (i.e., personal names, email addresses, phone numbers, values,
law enforcement techniques, identity of confidential informants, etc.). I
can offer you two options for these records.

Option 1: When we withhold information, Fish and Wildlife Service policy
requires that we send the records to two external offices (Service FOIA
Officer and the Interior Office of the Solicitor) to review before we can
send out a final response. Once these offices have reviewed and concurred
with our proposed withholdings, we will send you a final response with the
redacted the documents, identification of each FOIA exemption used, and we
will provide you with appeal rights to exercise if you believe you are
entitled to the redacted information.

Option 2: If you prefer a speedier response and are satisfied with the
omission of personal names and identifiers, law enforcement techniques, and
any other information we need to withhold under the FOIA exemptions (
http://www.foia.gov/faq.html#exemptions), you can amend your request to
seek the investigative records in "releasable" form. In this case, we
would not identify the specific FOIA exemptions used nor provide you with
appeal rights. Because we would be providing you with documents as you have
requested, i.e., "in releasable form", we would not be required to send the
documents for the two-level review process.

For both options, we would blackout the same information.

Please let me know if you prefer the documents in releasable form,
understanding that you would not be entitled to appeal rights. If you
prefer to receive appeal rights to contest any withholdings, we can
certainly use our normal routing process. This means the Service FOIA
Officer and the Office of the Solicitor would review our proposed
withholdings before we send you a final response. Because external offices
perform reviews of the requested documents, we cannot gauge how long this
review process will take. However, we will do our best to send a response
to you as soon as possible.

We have no problem preparing a response to you 'in releasable form' or with
full review and appeal rights. Please let me know which method you prefer:
releasable form or with full appeal rights.

You may also use this opportunity to narrow the scope of your request. As
we previously indicated, this request is considered voluminous and will
take significant additional time to complete (depending on the processing
option you select). You may want to consider reducing the time frame of
records you are seeking. Or, we could prepare a brief summary of each
investigative file. Perhaps this would be sufficient to satisfy your
request in full, or you could use this to determine the cases you would
like to have processed.

Please let me know how you would like us to proceed with your request.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Circee J. Pieters
Chief, Branch of Planning and Analysis
Office of Law Enforcement
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Office: 703-358-1949 Fax: 703-358-2346

From: Pieters, Circee

Dear Mr. Sampson:

This is in regards to your request for a fee waiver relating to your FOIA
request. We will waive the search and review time costs and provide the
first 100 pages at no charge. There will be a $.15 per page charge for
duplication of all pages after the first 100 sheets.

Estimated charges follow:

3,683 pages - 100 pages = 3,583 pages @ $.15 per page = $537.45

Because this exceeds $250, we would require payment in advance. Please let
me know how you would like to proceed. We are also waiting for a response
from our email of January 15.

Sincerely,
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Circee J. Pieters
Chief, Branch of Planning and Analysis
Office of Law Enforcement
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Office: 703-358-1949 Fax: 703-358-2346

From: Zack Sampson

Hi Circee,

Could I please just get the first 100 pages?

Thanks,
Zack

From: Zack Sampson

Additionally, I'd like those first 100 pages in releasable form, please.

Thank you,
Zack

From: Pieters, Circee

This is in response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of
November 18, 2013, seeking, "documents for all investigations or tracking
of the illegal trade of ivory in New England from January 1, 2003 until the
date this request is processed . . . [including] . . . any documents
related to the seizure of ivory and the destruction of seized ivory." You
amended your request on January 28, 2013, to the first 100 pages in
releasable form.

We have attached records in response to your amended request. These
records are comprised of copies of six complete investigative files and one
partial investigative file to total 100 pages, in releasable form. As you
will note, we have blacked out information that would generally not be
released in response to FOIA requests.

This completes our response to your FOIA request.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Circee J. Pieters
Chief, Branch of Planning and Analysis
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement
4401 N. Fairfax Drive (LE-3000), Arlington, VA 22203
Office: 703-358-1949 Fax: 703-358-2346

From: Pieters, Circee

Hi Zack - I just sent you a final response via email with attached records.
Can you let me know that you received it? I just want to make sure I
haven't bumped up against any email transfer limitations because of the
size of the attachments.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Circee J. Pieters
Chief, Branch of Planning and Analysis
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement
4401 N. Fairfax Drive (LE-3000), Arlington, VA 22203
Office: 703-358-1949 Fax: 703-358-2346

Files

pages

Close