Meet the Special Agent In Charge

Image of Special Agent in Charge Eric HardenEric D. Harden was appointed the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Los Angeles Field Division in October 2015.  As the Special Agent in Charge, Mr. Harden is responsible for ATF operations in Southern California and neighboring Yuma, Arizona. At the time of his appointment, Mr. Harden was serving as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division, and in a provisional appointment as the Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Field Division.

ATF is a key law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice that protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and storage of explosives, trafficking of firearms, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products. The men and women of ATF perform the dual responsibilities of enforcing Federal criminal laws and regulating the firearms and explosive industries to protect against crime, violence, and other threats to public safety.

Mr. Harden began his ATF career in 1990, as a Special Agent in Los Angeles, CA, focusing on firearms and narcotics trafficking and criminal street gangs. In 1999, Mr. Harden was promoted to the position of Supervisory Special Agent, leading several offices within the Los Angeles Field Division.  Mr. Harden was relocated to Washington, DC in 2003, where he worked on drafting national-level firearms trafficking regulations. In 2005, Mr. Harden returned to the Los Angeles Field Division to serve as the Supervisory Special Agent of the Los Angeles Field Division Major Case Group. Under his leadership, the group prosecuted some of the Los Angeles Field Division’s most notorious investigations, resulting in the indictment, arrest, and federal prosecution or plea of over 500 defendants who received 10-year, 20-year, or life sentences.  Mr. Harden was one of the architects of the ATF-led Violent Crime Impact Team (VCIT) initiative, an effort that leveraged innovative technology, analytical investigative resources, and an integrated federal, state, and local law enforcement strategy to identify, target, disrupt, arrest, and prosecute the "worst of the worst" criminals in specific areas of the United States. Mr. Harden has also served as the Supervisory Special Agent of the Los Angeles Intelligence Group where he managed a diverse workforce tasked with providing timely, accurate, and focused intelligence through the collection and analysis of information in support of reducing violent crime. Concurrent to his investigative work, Mr. Harden served as a member of the ATF Special Response Team.

A native Californian, Mr. Harden attended Stanford University receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Mr. Harden participates in several civic and professional organizations including the Anti-Defamation League and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Mr. Harden is a two-time recipient of the Attorney General’s Award. In 2011, he was honored as the recipient of the International Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Association Award for Outstanding Investigation.

Last Reviewed September 22, 2016