MEXICO CITY — Leadership from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are participating this week in the second annual International Anti-Gang Conference and Training in Mexico City. The weeklong training includes more than 300 participants from throughout the region including law enforcement officials from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica and Belize.
The training, taught by instructors from the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, is designed to enhance the ability for law enforcement personnel to respond to and identify potential threats emanating from gang members and their associates who operate throughout the region.
"We are committed to working with our law enforcement counterparts in Mexico and throughout Central America to combat gangs operating in the region," said HSI Deputy Assistant Director Waldemar Rodriguez. "Keeping our communities safe is at the core of our joint efforts."
"This conference represents the advances we have made in our regional cooperation to combat gangs, a threat that knows no borders," U.S. Embassy Chargé Laura Dogu told the group. "The work we are doing together to combat street and prison gangs and disrupt their illicit activities is significant and will benefit the citizens in all of our nations."
The Anti-Gang Initiative, a program coordinated by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, provides training and capacity building for law enforcement officers to combat and prevent gang activities. Funded through the Merida Initiative, the Anti-Gang Initiative works in partnership with the government of Mexico and has expanded to include over 30 law enforcement agencies from throughout the region.
Through ICE's Office of International Affairs and the State Department, HSI has 67 attaché offices in 48 countries around the world. This presence includes an on-the-ground relationship-building effort of HSI special agents working closely with foreign law enforcement agencies, and through a robust network of specialized vetted units known as Transnational Criminal Investigative Units. Additionally, HSI brings personnel from host countries to the United States to train at the Department of Homeland Security Federal Law Enforcement Training Center at Glynco, Ga.