U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Atlanta, Georgia
Homeland Security Investigations
Special Agent in Charge
Serve in a senior executive service (SES) position, as the Special Agent in Charge (SAC). Responsible for planning, organizing, administering, coordinating and overseeing the full spectrum of investigative activities and agency programs within the Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina areas of responsibility (AOR). Specifically, I am responsible for leading and managing the full-range of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigative activities of more than 200 special agents; to including 17 supervisory special agents, 10 resident agents in charge and five assistant special agents in charge. I also oversee the entire ICE mission support portfolio for the SAC Atlanta AOR.
Under my leadership, the David Wilhem OCEDTF Strike Force was created and has successfully blossomed into one of the most operationally productive Multi-Agency Task force initiatives in the United States. I developed and led a coalition of high level external stakeholders that included representatives from the FBI, DEA, ATF, IRS, U.S. Attorney's Office, District Attorney's Office, and state and local agencies for the purposes of achieving the long term goal of standing up an operating a task force focused on dismantling high level, transnational criminal organizations. Throughout the creation of the strike force, I coordinated extensively with internal and external stake holders and made critical decisions/recommendations regarding issues such as office location, asset sharing, logistics, communications, operational deconfliction requirements, and how shared operational oversight would function. As a result, the ICE Strike Force group has conducted over 40 Title III wiretap intercept investigations targeting numerous large scale, internationally based narcotics smuggling/distribution and money laundering organizations, resulting in the arrest and convictions of more than a 100 subjects and seizure of over five tons of marijuana, 800 pounds of cocaine, and $ 28,016,442 in U.S. currency. In addition, under my leadership, the HSI strike force unit coordinated with Main Justice to successfully obtain the first ever CPOT designation in the Northern District of Georgia.
As the SAC I have oversight over all Mission Support services in Georgia and North/South Carolina, I directed, coordinated, and provided policy guidance and technical expertise for all of the administrative programs designed to promote and enhance the investigative operations. I developed, implemented and currently oversee the full range of fiscal activities that includes a nearly $4 million annual budget. I have oversight of the state and local asset sharing program, where under my leadership, we have lead all SAC offices in the amount of assets shared for the last two years. I am also responsible for as well as the program planning and management of all personnel matters within the SAC Atlanta AOR. My portfolio also includes selecting and making recommendations for employment and appointment initiatives, the employee awards program, labor employee relations, and the discipline/adverse action process.
Recognizing that successful investigative work requires a healthy, responsive, and organized mission support program, I developed and implemented progressive and effective processes to ensure success. I developed and implemented a budget spend plan to ensure that we met our long term contract obligations for office infrastructure and also maintained sufficient funds to cover investigative costs throughout the year. During my leadership tenure, I have overseen and managed multi-million dollar budgets, which have never resulted in a ratification process or audit findings, and I fully implemented the new debit card program. I directed local operating instructions to the AOR to ensure critical programs like Purchase of Evidence and Purchase of Information were seamlessly transitioned and effectively managed. I made decisions to fund infrastructure contracts, obligated funds to purchase cards and set aside operational funds based on budget projections. This process resulted in increasingly efficient resource allocation to the extent that at the end of the fiscal year we were able to fund additional equipment purchase requests prior to the procurement cut-off dates. My efforts were validated by an Office of Professional Responsibility inspection report, which referenced my Mission Support efficiencies "as “best seen to date.". The management inspection team utilized several takeaways as best practices for nationwide implementation in fleet management, budget and property management. (Under my leadership, the SAC Atlanta has had the highest ranking in the nation on the ICE employee survey for satisfaction with Leadership's decision making.)
I have demonstrated my commitment to organizational and program management excellence by creating and promoting a diverse workforce. I have ensured that my commitment to these goals is fostered throughout my AOR by conducting regular discussions and distributing updated EEO policies and guidance to my management team. Under my leadership and guidance, I have always and will continue to challeng and encouraged managers participating on hiring panels to ensure that fair hiring/interview practices are closely adhered to resulting in a diverse and qualified workforce.
I have made great progress leading my office as Homeland Security Investigations continues to grow and evolve as a “world class” investigative agency. I promote the HSI mission with all of HSI's partners and the entire community. I consistently evaluate the deployment of personnel and resources to ensure they are assigned where the highest threat exists. I have implemented changes to effectively counter threats in areas where few assets existed.
The realignment of investigative personnel and fine-tuning of administrative operations continue to be systematically implemented consistent with priority programs. My office has made significant progress streamlining operations in an austere budget environment.
Space and logistics issues continue to require significant attention at several locations where the conditions are deficient and inadequate. I have been proactive taking steps to prioritize facility projects in an effort to work within budgetary constraints while securing adequate, safe, secure and cost effective environments.
My office's have experienced significant improvement and generated improved statistical accomplishments over the past three years Arrests, indictments and convictions track among the nation's highest.
I have been leading change within the SAC/AT by addressing various strategic initiatives to include:
•Realigned the SAC/AT leadership team to include dividing responsibilities with the addition of a second DSAC.
•I initiated the realignment of the investigative resources within Atlanta to leverage and utilize all resources in pursuit of asset identification and removal; border security, trade fraud and intelligence collection.
•Implemented a monthly threats and vulnerabilities assessment furthering the sharing of information.
I have enhanced HSI relations by building coalitions within the entire law enforcement community over the three-state area:
•Meet regularly with executives in other DHS components, federal, local and state law enforcement.
•SAC/AT personnel routinely participate in joint interdictions operations with CBP Air/Marine, Office Field Operations, and Coast Guard at the various ports of entry within the AOR.
•Interacts with the seven (7) United States Attorneys within the SAC/AT AOR.
•Participates in the various Law Enforcement Coordinating Committees meetings and presentation throughout the three-state AOR.
•As the Federal chair and voting member on the Atlanta HIDTA I meet routinely with other HIDTA partners.
• I am the HSI representative on various Joint Terrorism Task Forces Executive Boards. Ensures that HSI has representatives on each of the JTTF's within the three-state area.
•I have overseen the assignment of special agents to the Georgia Fusion Center and to the Central Intelligence Agency to serve as a liaison on intelligence and National Security initiatives.
I routinely has addressed various personnel performance and disciplinary issues consistent with ICE policy and procedure.
• I Ensure that all employees participate in ICE EEO and integrity training.
• I recognize the accomplishment of employees through various award initiatives, employee events and recognition.
•Has promoted the hiring of minority and female applicants to management, special agent and support positions.
•Verify that all employees participate in the various annual EEO and Sexual Harassment Prevention training requirements.
•Works collaboratively with OPR and the OIG to address employee discipline issues.
•Supported the training/use of a Rapid Response Team (RRT).This team is fully prepared to respond on a “moments” notice and has been deployed to respond to natural disasters.
Enforcement Related accomplishments
•I have encouraged significant utilization of Certified Undercover Operations as a tool to effectively bring cases to fruition with significant numbers of arrests, indictments, convictions and seizures.
•I Have supported and increased Trade Fraud and Intellectual Property investigations teaming with industry partners to address priority cases to include various IPR initiatives with the NFL, NASCAR, Golf Associations and other industry partners.
•Continue to support the utilization of electronic surveillance techniques in support of major investigations.
•Supported major national security investigations throughout the AOR leveraging HSI authorities to bring cases to fruition and preventing the export of weapons, munitions and technology.
•Child Exploitation/Pornography investigations are aggressively addressed ensuring the welfare of identified victims with particular emphasis being placed upon those cases involving perpetrators working or having access to children.
•Human Trafficking and Smuggling cases continue to be priority programs with several cases identifying individuals exploited for sexual and labor purposes.
•Various offices within the AOR have launched Bulk Cash Smuggling operations with state and local partners resulting in significant enforcement actions and results.
Most notably, I successfully lead an office that is widely known and respected for its documented work and dedication to fighting the war against the exploitation of innocent children and unsuspecting women promised a life of financial security only to face everyday terror. As evidenced by the human trafficking investigation, Operation Dark Night that was featured by CNN Project Freedom, and multiple child exploitation investigations that led to the rescue of dozens of innocent children being brutally victimized.
Serve as Deputy Special Agent in Charge responsible for all nvestigative, administrative, and operational oversight of HSI Office of Investigation (OI) offices in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Responsible for oversight and coordination of the Personnel (recruiting, hiring, performance management), Discipline, and EEO programs for the SAC Atlanta AOR. Responsible for ensuring all HQ and SAC tasking are completed accurately and submitted on timely basis. I attend meetings and make presentations to Law Enforcement, Governmental, and civilian groups throughout the SAC Atlanta AOR representing ICE and the SAC Atlanta.
Serving as a Unit Chief/Liaison within the Immigration and CustomsEnforcement Office of Investigations, Financial Investigations Division, my primary role was as the Deputy Section Chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) terrorist finance operations section responsible for the direction and oversight of the FBI's anti-terrorism investigative and enforcement efforts related to the financial material support of terrorism. Utilizing my technical expertise and criminal investigations experience, I planned, directed, managed, and coordinated all ICE investigative efforts, at the strategic and programmatic level, related to financial crimes potentially related to terrorism. I led efforts to identify and review ICE investigations with financial components that could be affiliated with terrorist organizations and their supporters. To ensure ICE investigative equities were represented, I successfully built coalitions within the FBI section by partnering and highlighting ICE's capabilities and vast financial expertise. I developed and implemented policies, procedures, and guidelines that are currently used by all ICE field offices in their day to day investigative activities. To lead strategic change within the organization based on mission priorities, I tracked and analyzed the investigative activities of ICE field offices nationwide, advising them of new and emerging threats and vulnerabilities while fostering the cooperation of the FBI, CIA, other ICE programs, as well as and other external agencies to ensure that ICE investigatory efforts were both crosscutting and inclusive of internal and external interests. In support of ICE's investigative priorities related to terrorist financing, I regularly met with and conducted formal, high level briefings with presidentially appointed officials, to including the Assistant Secretary, and other Government executives, providing overviews and evaluations of highly sensitive law enforcement policy and operational issues at the national level.
I also served as the DHS/ICE representative for the United States delegation to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international anti-money laundering/terrorism policy making organization. Specifically, I was the lead U.S. subject matter expert on bulk cash as it related to terrorist financing and was given the primary responsibility of providing technical guidance to the FATF Working Group on Terrorist Finance (WGTF) technical guidance on regulatory language to address the potential vulnerability that cash couriers pose to all nations in combating terrorist financing to the FATF Working Group on Terrorist Finance (WGTF). The primary problem identified was that in many jurisdictions there were no customs or law enforcement requirements to report or declare currency when entering or leaving physical land, air, and sea borders. As a result, and for a variety of reasons and misconceptions, including the aforementioned, several countries were very much against FATF recommendations requiring cross- border currency reporting. In efforts to alleviate these concerns, I made both written and oral presentations in conjunction and collaboration with top level US Treasury officials at FATF meetings to demonstrate the need and advantages to foreign law enforcement officials of a declaration or disclosure system. Specifically, I arranged a visit by FATF WGTF to the JFK Airport, where I led a contingency of ICE and CBP officials to explain and demonstrate the methodology and advantages of the U.S. declaration system. As a result, the FATF Plenary voted to add Special Recommendation IX, which changed the international standard, (FATF recommendations are recognized by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank) and made it mandatory that countries have a declaration or disclosure system for cross border currency reporting. As a result of my efforts and leadership, ICE is recognized internationally as the leading law enforcement agency in the United States in combating cash couriers and bulk cash smuggling. I received accolades and awards for my efforts in combating terrorist finance and bulk cash smuggling by DHS/ICE, the Department of Treasury, the Department of Justice, and the National Security Council.
Served as Program Manager/Assistant Director of US Customs Operation Green Quest. My duties as a Program Manager/Assistant Director involved the coordination of all terrorist Financing investigations in my area of responsibilities, which include the Eastern SAC's to include New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, and Tampa with an emphasis on New York/New Jersey. I also coordinated and reported on two primary Washington DC terrorist financing investigations, considered to be two of the most important terrorist investigations in the Us Customs Service. I had direct oversight on the recruitment and coordination of all Private Intelligence Gathering firms and Subject Matter Experts as they related to Terrorist Financing and US Customs. I routinely coordinated reporting for the offices in my area of responsibility including Undercover Operation Proposals and Recertification's, International travel requests, Title III approval and funding requests, and Large scale confidential source payment requests. I was involved in training of US Customs Personnel, Other law Enforcement, Foreign Law Enforcement, and Civilian Groups concerning Operation Green Quest and Terrorist Financing.
Served as Resident Agent in Charge of the Middle and Eastern Districts of Tennessee and the Northern District of Alabama. Responsible for supervision of USCS Special Agents in Nashville, TN, Knoxville, TN, and Birmingham, AL. The majority of Investigations under my supervision involved Financial terrorist related investigations, Fraud and IPR violations, and Narcotics Smuggling Conspiracies. I was responsible for all-managerial administrative reports and functions for RAIC Nashville and RA Birmingham. My area of Responsibility involved 3 Federal Judicial Districts. I routinely meet with US Attorneys, Special Agents in Charge for FBI, IRS, DEA, and Secret Service as the US Customs Managerial representative in the 3 Federal Districts. Was assigned and completed Administrative Function Study and the resulting recommendations for the SAC New Orleans. Served as the SAC New Orleans Special Response Team Manager, US Customs Managerial Representative on the Terrorism and OCEDTF Task Forces in the 3 Federal Judicial Districts in my area of responsibility
Served as group supervisor of US Customs HIDTA Significant Smuggling Group. Responsible for supervision of 15 employees. Primary investigative area of supervision was large-scale narcotics and money laundering investigations. Other investigative areas supervised include commercial fraud and strategic international export. Collaborated with the RAIC on development and creation of the HIDTA group writing up the initiative and developing budget plans, served on the North Texas HIDTA Director's Hiring board. Supervised Title III wiretap which led to numerous arrests, indictments, and convictions as well as servingas subject matter expert for Supervisory promotional development working group. Served as Special Response Team Commander.
As a Special Agent I spent a majority of my time investigating narcotics smuggling and was responsible for a number of large-scale international and multi-state investigations leading to numerous arrests, indictments and convictions. The second major area of investigation was wildlife smuggling, wrote, developed and served as case agent and program manager on Certified Undercover Operation Jungle Trade which resulted in numerous arrests, indictments and convictions. As the Program Manager for Operation Jungle Trade I dealt on a routine basis with the US Customs Foreign Operations Division and our foreign counterparts in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Mexico. I also served as a member of the US Customs Rio Grande Valley Special Response Team.
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