On April 30, 2007 Jose and Diana Calhelha, both of Guilford, were sentenced after being convicted in their roles of harboring and employing illegal aliens at their 10 Dunkin Donuts' franchises. As part of the judgment, Jose Calhelha forfeited $1 million. Today ICE is sharing back $200,000 with the Naugatuck Police Department.
ICE Special Agent-in-Charge, Bruce M. Foucart lauded the contributions the Naugatuck Police Department provided to our Resident Agent-in-Charge office in New Haven.
"The success of this case is the direct result of a true team effort. By having the Naugatuck Police Department along with us, we were able to establish critical trust with the victims. By bridging cultural gaps, Naugatuck Police Department personnel were instrumental in encouraging the victims to speak out against the criminal employers in this case and put an end to the exploitation of workers," said Foucart.
"The partnership we have with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a model of how federal and local law enforcement agencies can and should cooperate in solving cross-jurisdictional crimes," said Chief Edson. "During these difficult economic times, these proceeds will allow the Naugatuck Police Department to complete several technology projects and obtain needed equipment without placing the financial burden on our taxpayers."
Foucart further stated, "With equitable asset forfeiture sharing like this, federal and local law enforcement can really turn the table on the bad guys. We simply take illegal profit and invest it in local law enforcement efforts."
Asset Forfeiture is a powerful tool used by ICE and other law enforcement agencies to seize assets used by criminal organizations in their illicit enterprises or acquired through criminal activity. Under the related equitable sharing program, federal, state and local law enforcement partners and foreign governments working with ICE in joint investigations can be eligible to receive a portion of the proceeds of a federal forfeiture, fostering greater partnership and cooperation among agencies.
ICE's Asset Forfeiture/Equitable Sharing program is one of many ways law enforcement agencies can partner with ICE to address law enforcement needs in their communities. ICE Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security, or ACCESS, provides local law enforcement agencies an opportunity to team with ICE to combat specific challenges in their communities. ICE agents and officers will meet with agencies requesting ICE ACCESS assistance to assess local needs and to draft appropriate plans of action. Law enforcement agencies interested in reviewing the enforcement programs under the ICE ACCESS program are encouraged to call their local ICE office or visit www.ice.gov for more information.