MASSIVE NATIONWIDE STING NETS 74 TONS OF ILLICIT DRUGS
June 13, 2010
An article appeared on June 10 in the Washington Times written by Jerry Seper, one of the most knowledgeable and experienced journalists who has been covering the various aspects of the immigration crisis that has been hammering our nation for decades.
His news report focused on a successful field operation mounted by various federal, state and local law enforcement officers working in concert in 18 states.
Having spent nearly half of my career at the INS working with other law enforcement agencies to combat major narcotics trafficking organizations that include aliens- nearly every major narcotics trafficking organization does, in fact, include many aliens, I am particularly gratified by the efforts of these law enforcement officers in conducting this long term and large-scale investigation.
The news report has, as you might expect, caused me to find the need to make a few cogent points.
First of all, even while the administration hammers away at Governor Brewer of Arizona and the members of her state's legislature who created Arizona's immigration law- it is clear that when various law enforcement agencies on all level- federal, state and local, the effect can be synergistic. That is to say that the sum is greater than the total of the components. In reading the article, you will notice that special agents of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) were involved in this investigation.
Wow! ICE agents were actually working in concert with various police agencies across our nation and community policing did not evaporate in a puff of smoke!
Law enforcement is most effective when the bad guys are hammered from multiple directions by various agencies that can exercise their respective unique authorities and perspectives to seek to find weak spots and vulnerabilities to apply pressure in the most effective ways.
How often have you heard how Al Capone, the infamous Chicago-based gangster was ultimately convicted and imprisoned for tax-related crimes when he had been involved in everything from murder and bootlegging to extortion, corruption and a host of other felonies?
Similarly I can tell you from first hand experience that I have often been able to take drug traffickers off the streets by enforcing immigration law violations that traffickers committed. I can also tell you that while it may be difficult to prove an alien is involved in terrorism, such immigration-rleated crimes as visa fraud can get the job done!
Next I want you to consider a quote from Eric Holder, the Attorney General- America's chief law enforcement officer who effusively described the operation as on of the "most extensive and successful" in history:
"This successful operation, however, is just one battle in an ongoing war," he said. "So long as cartels and smugglers attempt to wreak havoc on our borders, we will continue to target them with every resource available to the federal government."
Certainly the smugglers got the narcotics they were smuggling across our nation's borders, but to say that it was all about "wreaking havoc on our borders" ignores the fact that more than a dozen states that were no where near the border had also been infiltrated by the smugglers. Would someone kindly send Mr. Holder a map of the United States?
Here is a list of the states where arrests were made in conjunction with the investigation as reported in the news article:
Arrests were made or charges were filed in Maryland, Virginia, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington state.
The problem that I think Mr. Holder had with addressing the states that were not near the border- especially the Mexican border, is that the Obama administration, just like the past administrations going back as least as far as Jimmy Carter, refuse to want to deal with the enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. By focusing purely on the border, the illegal aliens and the criminals and terrorists among them are all but "home free" once they get past the borders or the inspectors' booths at ports of entry. I have previously compared this flawed approach to immigration enforcement with having a baseball team attempt to play a winning game of baseball but having the manager demand that the outfielders stay in the dugout when the other team is at bat. Under such an absurd handicap, any batter who could hit the ball over the infielders' heads would get an "in the park home run!"
Additionally, I am astonished that the article notes that:
It was not immediately clear how many of those arrested were U.S. citizens or how many were illegal immigrants.
I would imagine that most, if not all of the defendants who were arrested had been indicted and were arrested pursuant to the issuance of criminal warrants. This means that most of the defendants should have been properly identified. Of course there may have been a few arrested pursuant to "John Doe" warrants which will ultimately require that these defendants be properly identified after they are arrested.
I would imagine that if these investigations were conducted the way that I did my job as a member of the Unified Intelligence Division of DEA in New York City or as a senior special agent assigned to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), that at least some of the targets of the investigation were, most likely, arrested for immigration law violations such as re-entry after deportation- a felony that for an alien who had been previously deported (removed) from the United States, subsequent to serving time for a felony faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
However, to hot have a ball park figure as to whether or not these defendants were United States citizens, resident aliens or illegal aliens causes me to wonder if the objective of the Justice Department was to not have to address the issue that aliens were involved in the various narcotics-related crimes.
Let's remember that the investigation that resulted in all of these 2,200 arrests and seizures involved the pernicious Mexican cartels.that had become "entrenched" in 18 United States cities. In my experience, major narcotics trafficking organizations prefer to use individuals from their home country in order to maintain tight control over the drugs and the proceeds from the sale of drugs. By dealing with individuals from their home country, the various lower level workers know that if they betray the drug trafficking organization, not only might they be killed by their bosses, but their family members in their home country would also be killed.
Additionally, I would love to know how many money wire services, mail drop services, telephone businesses and phony document vendors that were established to serve the illegal alien community were used to great effect by the drug cartels?
The effective use of immigration law enforcement can be absolutely essential to the successful conclusion of large-scale narcotics trafficking organizations.
As an INS special agent I was often called upon, in fact, to use my authorities to help local police, state police and federal agents from the ATF, DEA, FBI, Marshal Service and others to convince aliens to become cooperators. There are all sorts of immigration benefits that are available to aliens who cooperate. Such aliens and even their families can be provided with S-Visas that would enable them to live in the United States even if they had been here illegally.
In fact, on March 18, 2004 I was called to testify before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic:
"Pushing The Border Out on Alien Smuggling: New Tools and Intelligence Initiatives"
I was invited to testify before this hearing by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee who was, at that time, the Ranking Member of the subcommittee.
When law enforcement professionals bemoan the idea that they should have to enforce immigration laws I am left with the inevitable question- Why are they saying these thing? They absolutely know better!
Some time ago I prepared a list of 7 ways that having ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) work cooperatively with local law enforcement would have a synergistic impact on law enforcement. Here is that list- once more:
The participation of special agents of ICE in multi-agency law enforcement operations and the implementation of the 287(g) program under which state and local law enforcement officers are trained to identify criminal aliens could be a force multiplier for ICE and the involved police departments. Here are 7 reasons why all law enforcement agencies should welcome the involvement of special agents of ICE and how the 287(g) program can have a synergistic impact on many criminal investigations:
1- Access to immigration files can provide investigative leads when a criminal alien is being sought as a fugitive or a suspect of a crime.
2- Access to immigration files can also provide vital information to a judge when a criminal alien is arrested and the judge is attempting to set the appropriate bail. The immigration file can provide documented evidence of risk of flight based on numerous identities the defendant may have previously used, occasions when the defendant jumped bail in an immigration matter and filed to appear for an immigration hearing. The file can also provide evidence of prior deportations. This could help to prevent those tragedies in which a criminal alien is arrested and then released on bail, only to commit another heinous crime while out on bail.
3- If a plea bargain is being arranged, local and state prosecutors should work in close cooperation with federal immigration counsels to make certain that in the process of working out a plea-bargain agreement that they don't inadvertently eliminate a conviction for a crime that would render the alien deportable.
4- Working cooperatively with ICE, it would be easier to cultivate informants. Informants are often essential to the successful investigation and prosecution of criminals and criminal organizations as well as terrorists and their associates. The immigration laws provide a huge “carrot” as well as a huge “stick” to this end.
5- There are a number of laws that can be used to hammer criminal aliens under the federal code. For example, the penalty for an illegal alien found to be in possession of a firearm carries a ten year penalty. There are other such laws to be found in the federal code that deals with the possession and use of false identity documents and for the crime of unlawful reentry after deportation. A criminal alien who is deported from the United States and then reenters the United States with the authority of the government faces a maximum of 20 years in jail. (I am proud to have played a role in convincing the then Senior Senator from the State of New York, Alphonse D'Amato to create the legislation that distinguished criminal aliens who are deported and reenter the United States illegally for illegal aliens who had no previous criminal convictions.)
6- When an alien is convicted of a felony and when state and local law enforcement authorities work in close coordination with federal immigration authorities, a detainer can be lodged to make certain that upon release from custody when the criminal alien's sentence is completed, the criminal alien will face deportation (removal) from the United States.
7- There are instances when it is advantageous to the investigation to arrest a key individual(s) without alerting other members of the criminal or terrorist organization he is a part of, that the entire organization is being investigated. In such instances, it is often easy to find of violation of the immigration laws to enable law enforcement to arrest these individuals for administrative or criminal violation of the immigration laws, thus not alerting their cohorts to the larger, on-going investigation.
Immigration is not a single issue but a major factor in nearly every significant challenge confronting the United States today. Failures to secure our nation's borders and create an immigration system that has real integrity and honors those lawful immigrants who follow the laws and play by the rules to join the magnificent tapestry that is America hammers those challenges and compromises national security, the safety of our citizens and threatens the "American Dream."
I believe our nation's is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels and members of al-Qaeda!
If reading this makes it difficult for you to sleep now- perhaps you could do something worthwhile- perhaps you might spend a couple of your sleepless hours writing letters to your elected representatives this evening and remind them that Election Day is just months away!
We the People can add to the consternation of these politicians who are failing to live up to their oaths of office by contacting them and making it abundantly clear that election day is coming and they should think of election day as their personal "Day of Reckoning!"
Our government must live up to its obligation of protecting its own citizens and, indeed, all who are present in our country from the criminals and terrorists who would threaten our lives and the survival of our nation and our way of life. In the end, the government is actually those who are elected to act as our "leaders." Those who fail to truly lead and look out for those they are supposed to represent, need to be sent packing this coming Election Day!
If our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the "American Dream" the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm's way in defense of this nation and our citizens.
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
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Any politician who refuses to work to secure our borders and create an immigration system that has integrity is either corrupt or too dumb to keep his (her) job. Any politician, irrespective of party affiliation who favors Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the outrageous betrayal that this would represent given the national security implications that this program would have, should be shown the door at the next election!
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a "Bucket Brigade of Truth!"