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Bobby Chacon

Bobby Chacon

Bobby Chacon's Topics:

Topic 1:

FBI Diving Unit

Why do we need one? How was it set up? What special skills and equipment is required? These questions and many more answered by the founder of the FBI Diving Unit himself!

Topic 2:

CSI Underwater

Bobby takes us through some of the real life crime events his FBI Diving Unit worked on. Absolutely riveting.

Bobby Chacon

Retired FBI Agent

Graduating from law school in 1987, Chacon immediately entered the FBI Academy, initially assigned to the New York City Field Office working the Italian Mafia and then the Jamaican Posses and other violent drug gangs. In 1995 he was selected to be a part time diver on what was then known as the FBI’s New York Office Scuba Team or NYOST, which at that time was the only sanctioned FBI Underwater Evidence Collection team. In 1996 one of his first missions was the TWA 800 crash of a 747 airliner which exploded and crashed 11 miles off the coast on Long Island New York. They searched the bottom, 125 fsw, for four months and recovered all 230 souls on board as well as over 90% of the aircraft.
As the operational tempo increased in the late 1990s, they caught the attention of the FBI Laboratory which wanted to bring the team in under their forensics science unit section and its Evidence Response Team Unit. This unit funded, trained and oversaw all the FBI’s crime scene teams, known as ERTs inside the FBI. By being brought under the FBI Lab umbrella our funding increased greatly and it was decided that someone needed to be in charge of this team on a full time basis. Up until this time ALL FBI divers were part time and had other primary responsibilities to other investigative squads. So, in 1999, Bobby became the first full time diver in FBI history. One of his first major tastings was to begin planning for three additional FBI Dive Teams and he spent the next two years building the FBI’s Underwater Forensic Program and the other three dive teams which ended up being place in the FBI Field Offices in Washington DC, Miami and Los Angeles.

In 2006, SA Chacon was selected by the FBI Laboratory to be part of a twelve FBI diver Team to travel to Yusafiah, Iraq to conduct underwater search operations in support of the US Army's Criminal Investigation Division (see Brian DiPalma film "Redacted").

Bobby Chacon - retired FBI agent

Bobby Chacon - by S. Barsky

In 2007, SA Chacon was selected as the Senior Team Leader for the FBI Underwater Search and Evidence Response Team for the Los Angeles Field Division.

Notable dive operations participated include TWA Flight 800 (1996), Space Shuttle Colombia (2003) Laci Peterson (2003), Minneapolis Bridge collapse (2007).

In 2008, SA Chacon was selected by the FBI's University Education Program (UEP) to attend commercial dive school and obtain his underwater welding licence.

In 2009, SA Chacon graduated from the National Polytechnic College of Science/College of Oceaneering with an A.S. degree in Marine Science Technology and became a licensed commercial diver and certified underwater welder. From 2009 to 2014 he continued to be the Senior Team Leader of the FBI’s Los Angles Dive Team covering the area from the Mississippi River westward to the border of India & Pakistan. Bobby led the team conducting missions such as the Chelsea King body recovery in 2010, the recovery of $650 million dollars worth of cocaine from a cartel submarine on the bottom of the ocean 150 miles off the coast of Honduras in 2011 and the recovery of Samantha Koenig, the 19 year old dismembered victim of serial killer Israel Keyes from beneath a frozen lake north of Anchorage, Alaska. In between there were many other operations and training. 

Retiring from the FBI in 201, Bobby moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where his wife was the Executive Producer of Sport Presentation for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. In 2015 he accepted a job as technical advisor for a new US tv show called Criminal Minds Beyond Borders starring Gary Sinise. He flew between Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro for the next two years and when the 2016 Summer Olympics were over, Bobby and his wife, along with their two rescue dogs, moved back to Southern California.
He has been a writer of TV shows and movies ever since. Bobby has appeared in front of the cameras as himself on numerous news shows, podcasts and true crime programs, and believes he may even have appeared on Australian news shows a time or two, mostly regarding the FBI.

This is the first time Bobby Chacon has ever spoken to a wholly diving audience.