Retired FBI agent, Kentucky native still hot on trail of public corruption

Published 6:07 am Sunday, April 4, 2021

“Political corruption and law enforcement corruption are the two that I think are the worst,” Huggins said.

He added that while the reality of working public corruption cases may not be as fast-paced as television shows make it seem, it’s important and sometimes grueling work. At the FBI, he estimated that he worked eight to 15 cases at a time.

“Typically, you review a lot of records,” Huggins said. “What I mainly do is look for people to interview and — it sounds cliche — but we try to put together pieces of a puzzle and adjust the investigation accordingly.”

Huggins started his investigative career after graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1990, working for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) at its Detroit office. In 1995, he jumped into a role with the FBI in San Francisco, wearing a few different hats while there.

He worked some public corruption cases but also helped out with the SWAT team in San Francisco.

“I’ve probably worked 50/50, almost an equal amount of cases on Republicans or Democrats over the span of my career,” Huggins said. “We all have our own political leanings, but when it comes down to it, if someone’s a crooked politician, then they’re betraying the public’s trust and it doesn’t matter what party they are.”

Of note, Huggins was involved in perhaps one of the FBI’s most high-profile cases: the arrest of the Unabomber, a domestic terrorist named Ted Kaczynski who shipped bombs to victims.

Kaczynski started bombing people he believed were responsible for the destruction of the environment in the late 1970s.

Huggins said he was there in 1996 when the bureau arrested the mathematics professor-turned-anarchist at his cabin in a remote stretch of Montana.

“Seeing him when they pulled him out of the cabin, I couldn’t believe that here was this guy who eluded the authorities for years and years and he’s just living in a little tiny shack where there’s no electricity or anything,” Huggins said.